Today, I want to introduce you to my Dad. My dad is amazing. Is your dad amazing? I'm sure he is, but my Dad is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. He is a quiet, unassuming, humble kind of amazing that is rarely found in the world today. Let me see if I can put it into words.
The pictures that I am sharing in this post are quintessential "My Dad".
MY DAD WORKS TO ENCOURAGE GROWTH and UNDERSTANDS THE LAW OF THE HARVEST. - When I was a kid, my dad worked in a steel mill. He still does actually. And every day after work, he would quietly go back to his garden and work the soil. I can remember him putting forth hours of effort every night to turn over the rock hard soil. He weeded, pruned, and cared for his garden until it produced lots of food for our family: beans, grapes, tomatoes, peppers. Over the years, he shaped and molded his yard into a modern-day Garden of Eden. My Dad understood that growth requires work and that you reap what you sow. My dad never lectured me on this topic, but his quiet actions in the garden planted seeds of testimony in me that have brought me great happiness in my life. I now love to garden as well and always think of him when I am happily cultivating my own piece of earth.
MY DAD SPENDS HIS LIFE IN SERVICE TO OTHERS, SEEKING OUT THOSE WHO ARE FORGOTTEN. - This is another very familiar scene - my Dad shoveling snow. We got a lot of snow in the wintertime in Northern Ohio, and my Dad would often wake up early to clear our driveway, but he didn't ever stop there. After finishing our driveway, he'd work his way down the sidewalks of our neighborhood shoveling the front walks of widows and elderly living on our street. And when he was finished there, he'd drive to a woman's house in our ward or someone he home taught and take care of them as well. He has been a great example to me of quietly going about the work of the Master in daily life. Since he did much of these acts of service, the shoveling in particular, before anyone else was awake, the recipients of his kindness rarely knew who to thank.
MY DAD SEEKS OUT ALL THAT IS LOVELY AND PRAISEWORTHY AND WORKS TO DEVELOP THESE GIFTS IN HIMSELF. - Here is my Dad practicing the piano with my little sister sitting next to him. I remember my Dad practicing A LOT when I was little. I used to "dance ballet" for him while he played. My Mom was a great pianist. I always think of my Dad as being self-taught. He spent many years playing the organ for our ward sacrament meetings, and I know that he spent many hours each week learning the hymns for that Sunday. Quiet dedication.
Years later, when Ohio finally received a temple, my Dad was invited to play the organ for the temple dedication. My entire family was able to be in the celestial room of the temple that day to witness the dedication. Seeing him play the organ for the Prophet, who was seated just three feet away, was sweet reward -in my eyes, anyway- for the years that he spent practicing to make beautiful music for the members of his local ward each Sunday.
|At my sister's wedding reception. I'm pregnant with Guy.|
MY DAD LOVES TO LEARN. - Another way that my Dad has cultivated all that is lovely in his life is evident in his love of words. My Dad has learned a new word in the English language every day for at least the last thirty years. He started learning words in order to combat the foul language that he heard every day working at the steel mill. Now he is a word connoisseur, but he does not learn words to show off. His vast vocabulary is simply a manifestation of his love of learning.
And boy does he love to learn! My Dad actually has a degree is history. By now, I'd bet he'd make an amazing history professor at the college level, because of the 100's (1000's?) of books he has devoured to satisfy his appetite about the history of...well...everything.
|Who's that baby? Oh, yeah, that's me!|
MY DAD HAS HIS PRIORITIES RIGHT. - There has never been any question in my mind about where my Dad puts his family on his list of priorities in life. He loves the Lord. He loves his Family. He loves his neighbor. And we love him. One of my fondest memories of my Dad are when he asked me to hold his flashlight as he worked on our car in the garage. (He was always fixing one of our cars.) I loved the one-on-one attention that I got out in that cold, dark garage. I also remember with fondness the many hours he spent reading the scriptures to my sister and me. He loved to read certain parts with such animation, "he doth drag them speedily down to HELL!!" Other times, he was so exhausted from work that he fell asleep mid-sentence. My sister and I would get a big kick out of that.
I also loved when he would "tuck us in" to bed. My younger sister and I shared a room, and we'd often stay up late laughing and talking. We'd kept my poor, tired folks awake. After my mom got tired of yelling up the stairs for us to go to sleep, my Dad would come up to "seal our eyes shut". He'd lick his thumbs and and then apply a generous amount of his magic saliva to our closed eyelids. This would essentially seal our eyes shut so that we could not - nor would we even want to - open our eyes until morning. Worked every time!
I love you, Daddy!
PS - As I ran errands today, I kept thinking of things that I left out in this post about my Dad....like how he took troubled kids under his wing, how he always says "Primary is #1" and how he speaks French, because he served his mission there...how he cries easily, and jokingly says to other men "Let's have a female hand-shake" and pulls them in for a hug, and how everyone of his close friends calls him "Robert" but with a French accent!