We will be celebrating Father’s Day this weekend, so I thought I would share a few memories about my own father.
My father was always good with his hands.
When I was four, I wanted bunkbeds in the worst way. He built a bunkbed from two regular twin beds.
When I was five, my father built a crib for my new Christmas doll baby. He painted it purple. Purple was my very favorite color. In those days, nothing was purple. Toys came in primary colors and sometimes pink, but not purple. To this day, I remember standing beneath the Christmas tree, hugging the doll to my chest, and exclaiming over her purple crib.
When I was six, my father built a playhouse for my brother and me in the backyard. It was two stories. The bottom story was a six-by-six apartment, complete with counters and cabinets and furniture. The upper story, accessed by a hand-made ladder, was a rooftop fort.
When I was seven, I got a pogo stick for Christmas. I have always been lacking in grace and coordination. Because my father fancied being the parent of a live child rather than the parent of a child killed in a tragic pogo-ing accident, he attached the pogo stick to a sturdy rope safety line tied to a sturdy tree limb.
When I was eight, my father decided it was time to turn our rusty old swing set into a water park attraction. He rigged up a series of garden soaker hoses to the frame of the swing set so they would water the children when he turned on the faucet.
When I was sixteen, I wanted a cedar hope chest. My father spirited away the pine toy chest my grandfather made me when I was born. He refinished it, lined it with cedar, and presented me with the most special hope chest ever.
When I was twenty-one, my father single-handedly moved me into my first apartment. He pulled all my possessions out of the storage shed where they were housed, loaded them into his pick-up truck, and hauled them up a flight of steep cement stairs to my new home.
When I was twenty-nine, my father bartered with an attorney friend to submit my divorce paperwork in return for my father’s labor in refinishing the attorney’s dining room set.
When I was thirty-two, I moved into the condo I purchased. In addition to leaving my rented apartment, I was also leaving a rather creepy relationship. Unfortunately, the guy in the creepy relationship did not want to be left. My father stayed with me in my new place for two weeks, making sure I was safe. During that time, he quietly hung a bedroom door, painted a bookcase, put pictures on my wall, and repaired the finish on the bathroom sink.
When I was thirty-four, my father rigged up a seatbelt for my mutant Welsh corgi to keep her from trying to shift gears on my car as I traversed the rather steep and treacherous highway that took me from my house to the town were my parents lived. The said Welsh corgi had taken it into her head to push the gear shift into “park” one day as I was curving my way down the mountain, so my father built a solution.
When I was thirty-six, my father died suddenly. His body sputtered, stalled, and could not be restarted. His death was life-shattering. His loss left a huge tear in my soul that never healed properly. This was the one and only instance I can remember when my father could not use his skill with his hands to fix a problem for me.
Yes, my father was always very good with his hands. He was also very good with his heart.
Happy Father’s Day! What memories do you have of your father? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a heart-filled day!