On Father’s Day

June 18, 2017

My whole life, I could count on my dad to be doing some kind of home project.

Some of my earliest memories of Dad are of him working on our house.  I remember the time he remodeled the kitchen.  Stacey and I were supposed to stay out of the way, so we pretended to be in a fancy restaurant as we ate our Long John Silver’s out in the little summer house.  I remember when Dad and Gootch laid the carpet in the living room and we pretended that the giant cardboard roll was a log and we were lumberjacks.  I remember the summer that Dad had the fieldstone put on the house and the spring the swimming pool went in, and we all stood and watched as the fire truck filled it to the top.  I remember watching Dad frame my playhouse in the garage and him shaking his head saying, “That’s it. Your grandma isn’t paying anybody else for A’s on their report card.”  There is something good about being in a place you’ve seen your dad build himself… He had a lot of help from friends of course, but the vision for building a home was always his.

So I think that is what I’m going to miss the most about Dad.  You see, I’ve always been a little jealous of the boys with their stories of running around town with Dad to Hardees or the upholstery shop or to his buddy’s garage to look at a car. The boys all have the experience of working with Dad—or more accurately FOR Dad—out in the building, or the yard, or mini-barn.  They all know what Dad was like out there, and they’ve all heard him rant and rave about not doing a job right. Apparently, Dad had a whole other vocabulary that he saved for the boys out in the building.  Bryan said to me once after spending the day with Dad and my brothers moving Coke machines or pool tables or some other thing Dad had no doubt swapped for, “Man, you’re dad can cuss, now!  It was like a contest!” See Dad saved all that for the boys and they got to see a side of Dad that he never would have let any of the women in his life see.  And so, I’ve always been a little jealous that maybe the boys got to know Dad better than I did. I mean, Lord knows I certainly didn’t want to be yelled at for letting the car dry with water spots or for not knowing which tool he was pointing at with a foot as he was underneath the hood of a hot rod.  But I did want to know my dad like my brothers and the grandsons did.

But you see, once I got my own home, I came to understand why my dad always had a project going and I got to know my dad in a way I never had growing up as his little girl.  There isn’t a home project I’ve done that doesn’t have my dad’s input or hand print on it.  Dad told me how deep post holes have to be when I put up a fence.  He and Mike built the pergola in our backyard, and Dad gave me the lumber for my deck that spring.  The last project that Dad was physically well enough to help me with was a project I started in my garage—My garage, by the way is painted, ceiling included, because that’s how it should be, according to Dad. So this project of mine—I cut big hole in the drywall because I assumed there would be space I could use for storage.  Luckily, I was right.  But I was also stuck.  I cut the hole and framed a doorway, but I didn’t know how to attach a covering to the hole I had made.  Dad came to the rescue.  He built a door for me complete with trim, and he patiently explained to me what he was doing, which tool to use and why.  When he gave me his jigsaw, I felt like I had been given a badge of honor.  I was so proud of that silly little saw.  I was telling my brother, Stacey about the project, and Stace said, “Yeah, I know Dad was really impressed with you.”  And, I thought this is why my brothers keep going out to the garage with Dad even though they know he’s going to yell once in while. When Dad is impressed with you, you know you’ve done it right.  I know my dad was proud of me for lots of things and he always let me know that.  But for Dad to be proud of me for being able to make a house into a home with my own hands the way he had for my whole life, I will treasure that forever.