The smell of coffee. The sound of bacon crankily snapping in the pan. WCCO on the radio. Dad is home. Â I loved those weekend markers.
My father worked as a construction foreman, which meant he was not home Monday through Friday.Â Â Mom, in her independence, kept the farm running and my siblings and I herded. She didnâ€™t drink coffee, and breakfast tended to be more about pouring a bowl of cereal under her watch, so those Saturday smells and sounds were tenderly loved on my part. Dad is home!
With Fatherâ€™s Day approaching, and my dad securely in heaven, I thought Iâ€™d share three lessons he gave me. His gifts serve me well day after day. I guess Iâ€™m still leaning on him. Here they are:
- Never ask people to do what you are not willing to do yourself. Dad was well respected as a foreman because he didnâ€™t hide behind a door or clipboard. He was out in the construction milieu pushing wheelbarrows of wet cement with his men. He also respected his crew, and treated them with compassion. As long as they did their jobs he tended to look the other way if they arrived late or left early. Dad knew they had families, and sometimes life doesnâ€™t fit in a 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. The men, in return, went above and beyond and often worked overtime to repay his kindness.
- Keep dreaming. One of my favorite memories of Dad is when weâ€™d go blueberry picking as a family. Mom was a stickler for sitting in one place and patiently filling the coffee can or bucket. It was soooooo boring! I learned early to sidle up to Dad because he was a restless as I was. Weâ€™d plink a few blueberries in our containers for show, and then heâ€™d whisper, â€œLetâ€™s go find the bonanza of blueberries. Itâ€™s probably over there. Or over there. Maybe over there.â€ Weâ€™d wander around accumulating enough berries to appease Mom, but it felt entirely different than sitting still. When Iâ€™m dreaming about my next big thing, I hear him whisper, â€œLets go find that bonanza.â€
- Make people feel special. Dad had a gift. No matter whom he met up with, that person garnered his full attention. So often heâ€™d refer to individuals as â€œhis buddy so and so,â€ or, â€œmy girlfriend so and so.â€ He made me feel special too. I treasure memories of Dad showing up at school and telling the teacher he was pulling me from classes for the day. Since he was gone so often, this usually came as a shock of pure pleasure. Weâ€™d head to the car and heâ€™d say, â€œIâ€™m off on the hunt for a tractor part. I thought you might like to tag along.â€ Weâ€™d drive for hours, talk, and eat at greasy spoon cafes. Heâ€™d pop into umpteen tractor part stores along the way, but it was having one-on-one time with him that mattered so much in my young life.
Â Happy Fatherâ€™s Day, Dad. My life has been blessed in countless layers because you were my guide, and my example. The wafting smell of morning bacon and coffee will always bring you home in my memories, and be the best part of my day.