Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tribute

I will write of fiber things tomorrow, and at post least one picture of my Red Sweater which is slowly coming along. Today is a special day for good memories...

Huge flakes of snow are quickly drifting from the sky. Not exactly the makings for a trip to the Portland airport this evening to pick up our son and family. To make matters worse, most people in this part of Oregon don't know how to drive on snow. I learned during my teen years living in N. Arizona where winter snow was normal. It was a dry snow with little danger of ice. Besides, some thirty some years have passed since those days.

My dad would have been delighted. Snow did not faze him. Bring it on. He grew up in Minnesota and loved to drive in the stuff. I remember a snowy Christmas here in the valley when I was about 7. He piled us kids onto the sled he'd hooked to the back of his VW bug and drove all around our small farm while we shouted with laughter.

Dad was a hard worker who loved people and exuded a quiet, confident personality. Animals and children were drawn to him. It's been said by many that he didn't know a stranger. He was born the fourth boy of six children on a farm in 1912. His baby sister was born on his birthday four years later, the same date as their parent's anniversary! They had a traditional, self-sustaining family farm where they raised various animals and crops, everything interconnected and interdependent. Since it was a family of boys with a tag-a-long baby sister, the boys were expected to help with house chores and meals. Can you visualize your dad scooting back his chair at the end of a large dinner and declaring that the women fixed the dinner, the men would clean up. He'd tie on a large white apron and cheerfully get to work. I grew up thinking that it was normal for the men to do the dishes whenever there were guests.

Farm responsibilities forced him to drop out of school in tenth grade, to his great regret, though he never stopped reading and learning.

He married the woman he loved at age 38, she was 34. (Mom and Dad in their early sixties. My mom's pants? Hey, it was the mid-70's!)

For both it was their first love, and only love. We four children were blessed to have older parents in that small things just didn't bother them. Dad worked with farm animals, mostly dairy cows, often as a veterinary assistant. He was able to communicate well through his gentle personality. With his ability to quiet an anxious, struggling cow -- a child seldom could ruffle his feathers, though naturally, we found ways to push his button. Dad was calm and affirming in his steadfast love. His love for us ran almost as strong as his love for his wife, and his abiding love in God. He rarely talked about his belief and faith but we knew his relationship with his Creator was his firm foundation in life.

He loved to sing. As a young man he'd sung on the radio and continued to sing in church choirs whenever his work schedule allowed him. Singing was about as natural as talking. As the youngest I often went on his routes to check on milk cows, his rich baritone melting the miles away making me feel very special.

Maybe because his own mother was a lady who had a spine of steel, he treated women with a great deal of respect, and he figured we could handle anything a man could. He was way ahead of his time! He taught me to work on cars, put new roofs on buildings (Dad & I reroofed two buildings one summer), chop wood, make fires, shoot guns. He was a bit disappointed that I didn't become a doctor. (Life does take unexpected side jogs)

By the time my kids came along, Dad's health was poor. He'd sit for hours holding one or both of them on his lap. J in particular would snuggle into grandpa's shoulder, stick a couple fingers in his mouth and sit contently for a long time. A deep sadness fills me when I think that my kids never had the chance to really know this warm, loving man. He would have been 94 today, November 28th. I will always miss him.

8 Comments:

Anonymous tiennie said...

That was a beautifully written tribute to your dad! Lovely man.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Teyani said...

what a love-filled story Wanda.
I believe that your Dad is dancing close by you today - watching over you, with pride and joy for the wonderful person that you are.
What a marvelous man he must have been - from doing dishes, to sharing his music with you, and teaching you that women could do anything. three cheers for your Dad.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Marianne said...

Wanda, teyani just took the very words right out of my mouth...truly beautiful memories, keep those stories being told, that's how the younger ones learn....

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Your Dad would be proud that his daughter should write such a beautiful tribute to him.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Charity said...

I am so touched to read what wonderful memories you have of your dad. Thanks for sharing. :0)

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to your Father..He sounds like a 'rare gem'..as mine was ..and even after 16 years, I still get teary eyed on the day of his death, birthdays etc...HUGS!!

5:08 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

The joy of those we have lost (and it took me years to learn this) is that they live on in those they have left behind.

Your Dad is still with us, in you.

3:10 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

What profound and lyrical words about your dad. Thank you so much for sharing that.

12:24 PM  

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