My father died last month. I can’t quite grasp that he’s gone, but his essence, his soul, will be with me forever~ an intangible part of everything that remains in my tangible world. I’ll never live up to the legacy left by my dad. The best I can do is pass on a few of his simple but solid lessons, knowing that if we learn them, we’ll make the world a better place.
- Work Hard~ My dad wasn’t afraid of hard work. Whether studying to become a dentist, building a house for Habitat for Humanity, or taking care of his own home, he took responsibility and pride in giving his all to everything he did.
- Don’t Complain~ My dad went to work six days a week for most of his life, and I never once heard him complain about it. I really never heard him complain about anything, not even the weather, not even cancer.
- DIY~ My dad made my mom’s wedding band out of scraps of gold dental fillings. There was nothing he couldn’t figure out how to do himself. He poured concrete, laid carpet, wallpapered, built decks, and fences, and docks. Note that none of this was ever done without a few, often disastrous, missteps, bringing me to the next lesson.
- Don’t Freak Out~ My dad never got worked up, overwhelmed, or lost control. So you spilled an entire can of paint in the dining room. So the yard is on fire. So you wrecked the car again. So the basement is flooded. So you’re getting divorced. So I have cancer. Never. Freaked. Out.
- Be Generous~ My dad was incredibly generous with his time and his money. If you needed a helping hand, his was there. If you were drinking, he was buying. His generosity was extended to family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and his community.
- Pursue Interests~ My dad was always learning something new. He practiced like crazy to become somewhat of an expert in fishing, playing the guitar, singing barbershop music, flying a plane, making a chip shot, and training golden retrievers. A few weeks before he died, he directed a chorus concert and left the crowd laughing.
- Be Able to Tell a Joke~ My dad had a silly sense of humor. He always kept a few jokes up his sleeve that could spark life into the dullest of get-togethers. Later in life, his signature joke was Archibald Barisol. (Look up John Fox’s version on youtube for a laugh.) He worked on that one until he could deliver it with or without the help of a couple of “mandy branhattans.”
- Use Money to Make Life Better~ My dad was never interested in amassing large sums of money. He worked hard to make money so he could enjoy life with his family and friends. He gave a lot away, too. He died with zero debt and the satisfaction of knowing he left my mom in good shape.
- Take Care of Your Stuff~ My dad wasn’t a flashy person, but what he chose to own was top quality, and he kept it that way. He honored his things by taking excellent care of them. Cars, houses, shoes, tools, yards, pets, and people~ he appreciated the things in his life and never took them for granted.
- Do The Right Thing~ My dad had integrity. His fundamental belief in a God of big love provided a moral compass that always pointed towards kindness. He once told me, “Doing the right thing is easy if you just follow your gut.”
Happy Father’s Day, Pops! We’ll try to do you proud.
Think On These Things~ Alicia