Memorial Day & My Dad

posted in: Holidays, Family | 0
My dad
My dad
Today I want to honor my dad. Thankfully, he is still alive (he’s 80 years old) and living happily with my brother in California but, sadly, Alzheimer’s is silencing many of his memories. My dad served in the US Air Force for 31-1/2 years. He was only 18 when he enlisted. He wanted to be a pilot, but he wasn’t allowed to because he wore glasses. So, he chose a position that worked closely with pilots: he became a meteorologist. After retiring from the Air Force, he went back to college and got a teaching credential. Then he taught fourth and fifth graders at a little Christian school for ten years before he retired a second time.

One thing I will always remember about my dad is that he is pretty much always cheerful. He loves to laugh. He loves to tell stories. He grew up on a farm in Wisconsin along the Michigan border. He was the youngest of seven children, five of them older sisters. He tells stories about how it was his job to walk from door to door with his little red wagon peddling their home-grown vegetables. As you can imagine, in farm country, the doors were not very close to each other, but he got to know all his neighbors and their likes and dislikes. Then he would save certain vegetables for each neighbor, and with his winning smile he would say, “Mrs. Smith, I set aside these special tomatoes just for you.” Even though Mrs. Smith grew her own tomatoes, she always bought his too! He became quite a salesman.

Their family also played lots of card games. He knows how to play every game, and he still wins most of the time.

The other thing I will always remember is that my dad is always generous. He has a way of touching something and having it multiply. He knew the value of networking before it was the thing to do. Years ago he made friends with the manager of a nearby sub sandwich store. The manager would give him all the day-old bread, and my dad turned around and gave it to people in his church. He also made friends with the manager of a local food warehouse store. If one item in a box of 12 broke, they would give him the other 11 items and he turned around and distributed it at church.

He also walks several miles every morning. He still picks up aluminum cans along the way so he can recycle them, even though he can no longer remember the word “can.” About twenty years ago he made friends with the owner of a local bowling alley and he got permission to recycle their cans. He collected so many that he bought a Geo Metro with the profits.

I’m also excited that he will be coming to visit, along with my brother and his wife, at the end of next month. He will be staying with us for a week. He wants to sleep in “that moving thing,” that is, the motorhome, that he gave us a few years ago.

I am so very thankful for the father that God gave me!