Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Celebrating the Man I Call Dad
The month of June always brings my dad's birthday followed by Father's Day. So, naturally it's a time to reflect on one of the most important men in my life.
My dad is many things: a farmer, a butcher, a carpenter. He's a jack-of-all-trades, therefore he can do pretty much anything that needs to be done. (at least in my eyes!) He's quiet and shy but can speak his mind. He dropped out of school at a young age to help out his aging father on the farm...but can do mental math like no one I know.
As a kid I can remember riding in his pick-up listening to an orange 8 track cassette of Johnny Cash. (still a favourite) Helping on the farm was just part of the deal, so spending time with Dad usually meant picking up rocks (with thrilling rides in the front end loader), hoeing milk weed, handing him tools or just catching a ride to the mill when it was time to pick up or drop off. One of my most memorable chores was waxing the combine. Yes...I waxed a combine!!
As a farmer, Dad was an early-riser and expected you to be too. Many Saturday mornings I woke to the sound of the constant clink of his spoon in his coffee cup - not so much to stir his morning java but to ensure the household was rising from their slumber. Occasionally he'd really out-do himself and ring the doorbell, which would ring in every room in the house. (thanks to our 80's state-of-the-art intercom system!)
My dad has gone through a lot of personal challenges in his years. He had lost both parents by the time he was 40 and three siblings by his mid-fifties. He has endured the ups and downs of depending on the land to make a living and survived raising four kids. (including three girls!) Although we don't always agree on every issue, he is my dad and has made me who I am today.
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of walking the aisles of Home Depot with Dad as we shopped for things for my new house. I was a little surprised at the great nostalgic feeling I had as I pushed the cart and listened to him explain where we needed to go next. Perhaps part of me remembered those trips to the hardware store or "Websters" in Wyoming as a kid and perhaps part of me realized how much has changed in those years.
So, this June I wanted to pay tribute to my dad...John David Mills.
Love you dad.