My dad seems sometimes like a hard, no nonsense kinda guy. He hunts, fishes, builds. He's rugged, for sure. But hard - nah, not my dad. He's a sap, but it's not obvious unless you look closely.
When I was kid, on snow days my dad would start by clearing our "drive way" which was just shy of a mile long and served 2 other homes. Then, he'd take the tractor down the road to where a few elderly people lived, and clear their driveways, too. He usually had this done before I rolled out of bed. Then, after breakfast, we'd jump in our 4 wheel drive and go looking for people who were stuck in ditches and such, and we'd pull or push them free, and sometimes offer a ride home, or even tow their car, if that is what was needed. We did it because that's who my dad is, and we did it all day long. Rarely did we build a snow man or sled, we had work to do. People needed us.
When self serve gas started to become popular, he always pumped gas for any elderly person he saw, and sometimes even paid for the gas.
Whenever we had a relative in a hospital, my dad always ended up getting to know the people in the beds and rooms next door, especially if they didn't have family that came to see them. He'd bring them snacks or gifts, chat with them and visit them regularly.
Dear Old Dad was always on call for whatever crisis his friends may have had. He moved them, let them sleep on our couch, gave them jobs when they needed it. One of the major fights my mom and dad had when I was a kid was because instead of repairing our own cars, my dad was always fixing his friends' cars. Typical.
This is the example my dad has always set for me, to put the needs of others before yourself. It translates into my business and my everyday life. I am so grateful to have such a great role model in this area. I am so grateful to have my dad in my life.
In probably the deepest discussion we ever had, my dad and I talked about him and Vietnam. You see, he lost an eye when he was about 5, opening some sort of bag with a knife. As a result, he could not be drafted for the war. I told him I thought he lost that eye so I could be. If he'd gone to war, he wouldn't have married my mom, and I would not have been born. He agreed, but added that he is certain he would have died at war, probably saving someone not smart enough or capable enough to save themselves. I wish you could have been there; he didn't say it with even a hint of arrogance; he was just saying what he knew to be true. And, when he said it, I knew it, too. I've never been so grateful that my dad lost his eye when he was just a kid.
As today is Father's Day, you might think that is the sole inspiration for this post. However, dear old dad is standing me up today - we'll have to go to dinner another night. Why? Because he's being him. You see, he's got a friend stuck with a sunken boat down near the bay somewhere. So, my dad, my cousin and one of my sons (he's 20) are on their way to rescue him. They promised me they'd be safe, but their friend needs them. I'd go, except that I can not take my little ones who are 3 and 5; they would create unsafe conditions for us all. So, I'll take my husband out and buy a new grill, we'll go to dinner at a place my dad wouldn't like... and I'll take my dad out another night for dinner.
The inspiration for this post is my dad being who he is, today, on Father's Day. It creates a sort of irony, for on a day that dad is suppose to relax and revel in the appreciation from his children, my dad simply doesn't have time. He's too busy being who he is. A real live hero.
I love you dad.