Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!

Happy Father's Day to the single parents who have had to be both mom and dad to their kids, to the fathers who may only have furbabies, to those fathers who are away from their kids for whatever reason, and to those fathers who have crossed over.
This is the first Father's Day I've had without a dad or grandpa. It's a very odd day. I have no phone call to make. No gifts or cards to send out. It's a little surreal. I mean, I have my husband and we have the furkids to celebrate with, but it's not the same for me.
I was going to share a poem I wrote for my dad, but I can't find it anywhere. It's just disappeared. So, I'll share a special memory of my dad with you: I grew up on a dairy farm. My dad worked hard from sun-up until sundown and sometimes after that. My mom was right there working with him, side by side, but she would always take the time to spend with us kids. Dad always figured Mom had it covered so he could continue to work in the barns or the garage. However, there was always a time for Dad and I to spend together...the birthing of the new calves. I know, it sounds disgusting, but this memory hit me hard this week. It didn't matter if I was sleeping or watching television. Dad would call up from the barn and tell Mom to send me down because one of the cows was having a baby. In my nightgown, I'd slip on my barn boots and wander down the hill to the barn through the dark. In the quiet of the barn, Dad and I would stand and watch the new life come into the world. There was never a word said. Just two people who shared in the beauty of life.  After the new baby was born and being cleaned up by its mother, Dad would say, "Tell your mom I'll be up in a little while," and that was my cue to go back to the house and crawl into bed. This would happen every time there was a new baby on the farm.
He was a volunteer fireman who took his job seriously. He fought for everyone's home, barn, field, and life as if it were his own until the one day they lost a family in a house fire. It was Christmas Eve/Day. That was the last fire my dad fought. The tragedy of it simply shattered his heart and he couldn't return to the station again.
Dad and Grandpa used to get after me for spitting. "Ladies, don't spit," they'd say. My rebuttal was "I'm not a lady; I'm a farmer." *grin* Grandpa taught me how to hold my silverware so I didn't eat like a farm hand. Since I was the only granddaughter, these rough men were determined to be sure I wasn't a tomboy. Much to their dismay, it didn't work very well. Grandpa used to scold me for wearing farmer's hats. "You're gonna have cauliflower ears. Ladies don't have cauliflower ears." Looking back, I have to laugh at how much these men knew about what ladies did or didn't do:) Mom and Grandma just learned to live with it, but not Dad and Grandpa.
I played with Barbie dolls and wore dresses. But I was more content lying in the haymow with a book, wearing my jeans and t-shirts. I still prefer to wear jeans and t-shirts. High heels don't litter the floor of my closet (though there are a couple of pairs in there). I am more likely to wash my hair and let it dry naturally. I seldom wear make-up and, on occasion, I spit. I still wear baseball hats from time to time. But I hold my silverware like a "lady" and I don't wear my hats so they push down on my ears. I also wear more jewelry and wear my hair longer. (There's a whole story about a short haircut and being mistaken for a boy which led to my grandma getting my ears pierced.) No one can mistake me for a man today, but I try to remember the two men who were so determined to raise me to be a lady.
This is my offering for Father's Day. I hope it brought a smile to your heart. Hug your dads and grandpas if you can. If you can't, send them lots of love through the phone lines.
From my home to yours, blessings to all of you!

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