We observed Mother’s Day last month, and this month it is Father’s Day, time to honor those dads, both living and departed.
My dad has been gone almost 14 years and he remains a part of my daily thoughts.
It’s been more than two years since my father-in-law passed away and having known hime for close to 20 years, he brings back frequent warm recollections.
To talk about a living dad, well, that would be me, the senior member of our family.
I am certainly qualified. As my wife and I both had a previous marriage, I have three children and she has three children or more accurately, we have six children.
Add to that the spouses of our children and after that there are those wonderful grandchildren, of which are there are 11, and this August our 12th will be here.
See, I told you I was qualified. And it is a position of honor.
We compare ourselves to our dad’s, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
It is not limited to fathers and sons. Frequently, when my wife reacts to something, I hear the voice of her dad in her comments.
I look to my dad as a guide to my life. He did a lot of things right.
His area of weakness was that he was a poor teacher. He lacked the patience to allow for mistakes.
My mother was the consummate teacher, remaining in her heart a country school teacher to the day she died.
I try to be the teacher my dad was not, plus do all the things he did right such as generosity, kindness, inquisitiveness and being a good friend and neighbor.
His generosity to his family was countered by his frugality in many other things.
He would remove the unused postage stamp from an envelope that he received that had been sent as a self-addressed, stamped envelope rather then throw the stamped envelope away.
This was the same dad who did not buy a riding lawn mower until my sisters and I had left home for college because mowing the lawn was our responsibility. Actually, by then he had earned a riding lawn mower.
Yet, during their marriage of more than 50 years, my parents traveled all over the world – China when it was being opened to foreigners, Australia, and Europe, twice.
He was a board member of our local cooperative when the manager ran it conservatively, avoiding borrowed money if at all possible, while keeping the accounts receivable at a bare minimum.
When the elevator manager retired, his replacement started expanding and borrowed money for it with a board that encouraged the expansion to stay competitive with other elevators.
My dad said disgustedly that the elevator “was being run by the Pepsi Generation.” That was not a compliment.
What I miss about him most is his laugh, especially after telling a story he enjoyed repeating and there were many stories.
I always knew that no matter what happened to me, he would be there if I asked for help. That is what dads do.
If I have a wish on this Father’s Day, it would be to see my children smile when someone tells them, “You’re just like your dad.”
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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