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Lessons from my father . . .

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Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:12 am

With Father's Day approaching, I thought I'd say a few words about fathers.

Mostly mine.

I'm pretty sure I got a good one. Not having any more than the one, I haven't got much to compare him with, but by all accounts, he's above par.

For one thing, I haven't had a mom for a very long time. She's been gone for most of my adult life so it was up to Dad to listen to my problems and help me with my blunders. We developed a pretty honest relationship as adults shortly after my mother died and that's been a blessing.

Dad was very much a typical American father for the day. He worked a  lot, which kept him away for most of the day-to-day business of raising kids. He earned the money while my mom stayed home with us. Mom did different things like attend school and hold various jobs, but nothing full-time while Dad was bringing home the bacon. So I didn't really know him very well until I was grown up and on my own. And thus began the life lessons.

He would bail us out of a financial jam — both only with good reason and not without a stern lecture. Money does not grow on trees. I'd still like to know why.

He rebuilt my car that was almost totaled because it was the 1970s and I didn't need insurance. Now I carry insurance and not just because it's required by law.

He's listened to me rant against my husband and then conveniently forgot anything bad once we made up. I'm not sure how he did that, but that's the way he is.

He hosted a fabulous wedding reception at his home for two of our best friends even after he found out about it after reading his invitation. People still talk about that party. Many of whom call him "Dad" because that's how they've always known him.

He's also been an inspirational mentor in business matters. Those of in the family that work in management have learned a thing or two from the old man. He didn't get to retire early, build his dream home and live comfortably by making bad choices.

And he does most of this with a kind of Andy Griffith-esque homespun humor. It takes quite a bit to ruffle his feathers.

He's slowed down considerably now. His memory is fading and we listen to some of the same stories repeatedly. But he still comes up with a profound revelation now and again. It often comes out as an odd mixed metaphor — but said with much conviction.

He's the only dad I have and the only one I've ever wanted. I'm at an age that has seen many of my dear friends losing their parents. And even though it's a natural process, it's not easy. They probably wish they had one more Father's Day with their dads and I don't blame them.

So I'm going to go hang out with my dad on Sunday and share some wine and a good meal and probably listen to a few stories. Some of them repeatedly.

But that's okay because they're good stories.

Happy Father's Day.