Happy 75th, Dad
I know I said I wouldn’t be posting until the new year started, but I changed my mind! My dad is turning 75 this week and I won’t be there to celebrate with him in person.
The next best thing is to write a blog post letting the world know that I think he’s pretty great. Don’t worry, I’m going to call him too.
In no particular order, here are 75 things about my dad that warm my heart.
- He listens more than he speaks, which is a sound policy for life.
- He can nap anywhere, even on airplanes. It’s like a superpower.
- He used to play basketball with me in the driveway…in his cowboy boots.
- His word or handshake is better than any contract, which is how it should be.
- The way he always put his hats on his grandkids’ heads when they were babies.
- How he’s always up for the adventure of traveling with me and my family to foreign countries or around the good ol’ USA.
- How he attended what felt like every single game, concert, etc. of my childhood. I didn’t realize or appreciate at the time that not every kid has that type of parental support.
- For a quiet guy, he sure can turn on the charm when he wants to.
- He still pays for dinner even though his kids are grown and perfectly capable of getting the check. Handy Husband has to be quick and sneaky to get to the bill first.
- The example he set by serving in the military and by earning his college degree.
- I’m not sure how my parents decided which one of them was going to take me to college and get me set up in my dorm room, but it ended up being my dad. That trip to Boston was full of firsts for me. First plane ride, first time in a taxi, etc. I sure am glad my dad was there to get me through it all.
- His respect for Mother Nature – most farmers have a healthy dose of it.
- His steel trap of a mind for everything except the punchline of a joke.
- That time I saw my dad blissfully bobbing in the ocean waves in the Dominican Republic. I’m not even certain he can swim.
- His legit farmer’s tan from spending countless hours on a tractor every summer.
- A work ethic that runs very, very deep.
- The way he hides desserts and treats so the rest of us won’t get the last bite, but sometimes he forgets where he hid them too.
- The tractor rides he gave my kids when they were toddlers and thought tractors and grandpas were the best thing ever. They’ve outgrown tractors, but still think grandpas are the best.
- That one time when he got up from the dinner table to comfort my newborn daughter so I could eat one meal uninterrupted. It was glorious.
- He took me clothes shopping one time in my 20s. His idea, not mine. It must have been pure torture for him. I still have and wear several of the things he bought me that day though. It was Nordstrom, not Old Navy. Ha!
- The sheer number of people who not only know him, but respect the hell out of him.
- He’s a vault. If you tell him something in confidence, he’s not going to repeat it.
- How amazing his kids are, especially his daughter. She’s fantastic. The best of the bunch. My brothers can get their own blog if they want to dispute this fact.
- The funny fact that back in the day he would let us watch 90210 and Melrose Place, but not The X Files.
- How he taught me that it is always more interesting take a different road coming and going from home. When possible, I still drive different routes while running errands.
- He plays board games with my kids and doesn’t let them win.
- He prefers it when I drive instead of Handy Husband. Not that it is a contest for best driver or anything…but if it was, I win! Dad says so!
- That he tells me he “doesn’t want to use up too many words before I get there” if I call to chat right before flying home to visit him. As if we both don’t know that I’m going to be the one carrying the conversation anyway. Although, I’m pretty okay with not talking too.
- The only time I saw him cry was when my mom died. I still don’t know how he carried that burden of grief, but I suspect it had something to do with his faith and the community surrounding him with love.
- Selfishly, I’m glad he didn’t die in the same accident that took my mom, but I wouldn’t have blamed him if he let go on that operating room table.
- How he could almost always help me with my math homework and he didn’t have Google to rely on! I think about that a lot as I’m the go-to parent for homework help in our house.
- When he got ready to walk me down the aisle to marry Handy Husband he told me that if I’d changed my mind, he’d get me out of there. Don’t worry, I was 100% sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever loved him more than in that moment.
- That time he didn’t even get mad when Handy Husband (before he was Handy Husband) accidentally gave one our family’s expensive rheas (yes, the flightless bird) a heart attack and it died.
- How he could always pick a winner when it came to selecting a market steer for us kids to raise for our 4-H program.
- All the time he spent volunteering for our local 4-H program, especially since he was an FFA kid.
- How he doesn’t complain, unless chicken or turkey is being served for dinner.
- How he tries his darnedest to get done with haying every summer in time to take a break to attend a 4th of July rodeo.
- All those times we used to stop at the convenience store to get a 59 cent fountain pop. As a teenager, that was the best. As an adult, I shudder to think of all the calories and sugar content.
- How he used to jokingly say he was checking the daily obituaries to make sure they hadn’t prematurely announced his parting from this earth. At least, I’m pretty sure he was joking.
- How he remembers sports trivia from most any collegiate or professional sport.
- How he sometimes just drops by someone’s house to talk to them instead of picking up the phone to call them. You know what I would do? Send a text message.
- That he carries a flip phone, but we all know never to leave a voicemail.
- That he carries a flip phone, but loves to play games on the iPad we got him.
- How he moved into a house in town recently so my brother could raise his kids on the family farm.
- How he was able to make a living doing something that he loved. Even if there were lean years and side hustles, we never went without.
- The example he taught us that you were richer owning an older vehicle that was fully paid off than a brand new vehicle that you were deep in debt paying off every month.
- How he NEVER, NOT ONCE made me feel that I couldn’t accomplish something because I was a girl.
- How he supported my plans and ideas, even if he thought they were a wee bit crazy or risky. And, especially when they took me far away from home.
- How I had the freedom to take a few risks because I knew if things got really bad, I could always go home and live with my dad. Thankfully, I never had to do that! So far. There’s still time though!
- He has good manners. In this day and age, common courtesy shines like a beacon, doesn’t it?
- He usually has change in his pocket. Probably a pocket knife too. And maybe a piece of hay.
- How he sticks by his practicality to wear the same pair of dirty pants over and over. Why wash them if they are just going to get dirty out in the barn in five minutes? He’s not wrong, but he’s not right.
- The barn parties and pig roasts he used to host for the whole community. They were so much fun!
- How he used to keep hard candy in his pocket for the little kids at church.
- That time or two when he visited me and instead of checking luggage on the plane he brought a box of frozen beef from his freezer. Perk of having a cattle rancher for a dad.
- His knack for getting up early and already being on his first nap of the day by the time the rest of us finally wake up. And then he gives us a hard time about sleeping in until 7 a.m.
- He’s not a physically demonstrative person, so when you get a hug from him, it feels like a million bucks.
- How his mama thought it was the best thing when he’d bring her brown bananas so she could make banana bread. I’m not even sure if she could bake at that point in her life, but she knew her son was thinking about her and that made her day.
- That one time when I was a toddler and our house was burning down, but I thought we were just having a party because of all the flashing lights (firetrucks). Meanwhile, my dad was getting burns on his hands and knees from crawling down melting carpet to save important documents. Even when our house was literally burning down, my dad and mom made me feel secure.
- I’m sure my dad yelled at us kids, but if he did, I don’t remember it. He’s pretty even keeled, even when we acted like idiots. Actually, that was probably my siblings acting like idiots, not me. No, never!
- I do remember my dad yelling at me, but not in anger, to “Put some lead in it!” This was in reference to 100-lb. me trying to break a 500-lb. steer to lead. But instead, that steer was just dragging me around a field while I desperately tried to hold on to the rope connected to its halter. Imagine an 8-second ride, but there’s no ride. You’re just holding on to a rope for as long as you can and hoping that steer decides it isn’t worth the effort of dragging you around a field until you let go. The ridiculousness of that entire situation still makes me laugh. Also, it’s a miracle I survived my childhood.
- Growing up, I saw my dad fix a variety of things in a pinch with baling twine and duct tape. I like to think that prompted me to think creatively about problem solving.
- That time he helped Handy Husband and me move to Washington with his cattle trailer. “Don’t worry, I hosed it out,” he told me.
- For someone who isn’t a people person, people sure do like him.
- I’m sure he has insecurities and is a mere mortal like the rest of us, but he always seems secure in who he is and what he stands for.
- To that end, he has always been a constant, reassuring presence in my life. Like the world might be totally upside down and aliens have taken over, but dad is still dad and it is comforting to be able to count on that.
- He quietly does the work, often work no one wants to do, without needing or seeking credit for doing it.
- He’s funny. If you’re quick enough to catch his subtle, dry wit, you’ll laugh your head off.
- He’s more apt to demonstrate his love for you rather than express it with words. Actions really do speak louder than words in this case.
- He didn’t grow up with a lot, so I’m glad he can enjoy the fruits of his labor in “retirement.”
- Just kidding. Farmers don’t really retire.
- How he doesn’t drink a lot, but when Handy Husband is playing bartender he’ll indulge. Hmm…or maybe that’s just how he makes it through our family gatherings?!? I’m on to you now, Dad!
- His example to me to marry someone who is steadfast, hard-working, contemplative, and indulges my ideas.
- How the older he gets, the less he sweats the small stuff. I try to follow that example now.
- How grateful I am for the role he played in shaping who I am today.
Happy 75th, Dad. I love you.
P.S. Let’s end this pandemic so we can safely travel to see our loved ones again.
I love this SO much. It made me cry… and think of my own dad. I miss him more than words can say.
Sending you hugs!