It took me over 30 years and hearing that my father needed a heart bypass operation before a tremendous truth thundered down on me: my father has always been there for me. Until that moment I didn’t realize the incredible gift that he had given me for my entire life. I could always pick up the phone and he was glad to hear from me. If I had any questions about how anything worked or information of any kind – he was the first to pour through the books and encyclopedias looking for an answer. He was never too busy for me. After work he was always just a few steps away in his workshop, and I spend many “magical” hours there as a child. Planks of wood became my coloring books (my dad would save the drawings by varnishing over them and then using the wood on the bottom of furniture, etc. His actions carried a very strong message: whatever my child creates is something to be treasured). In my father’s workshop, the drill press became the submarine control room. His large assortment of screwdrivers became my dolls. The tape measure was a fine thing with which “to go fishing.” My dad would involve me in ideas and plans and some of my finest hours were spent at his desk as we talked over how to build projects, designing them to be strong and look great. He taught me to paint a house, use a band saw, mow a lawn, and how to find answers. My father made all the cribs in the church nursery at the church I grew up in, and he made the beautiful cross at the front of the church. When I was a young adult, dad made all the windows and my husband and I put stained glass in them. My dad was a church trustee for over 50 years. He modeled consistency. My dad was always there for me.
Dad is 87 now. He is still working on projects. He lost the sight in one of his eyes several years ago making me bookshelves. Those bookshelves are some of the most beautiful things in the world to me. The heritage my dad gave me grows sweeter everyday, because with each passing day I realize what a great gift he gave me in always being there for me.