With Father’s Day just around the corner, I started thinking hard about my dad and the role he’s played in my life.
As an adult, I can look back at his life with a different eye than when I was a child. As a child, I knew I was special to him. He called me “Green Jeans” and to this day, the memory of his nickname makes me smile. From the time I was in the sixth grade until I graduated from high school, I had a bedroom in the basement of the house. We lived in northern Idaho at the time and my room was always very cold. He would frequently go to my room before it was time for me to go to bed, and lay on my bed to warm it. So by the time I went to bed, I was able to crawl beneath warm covers.
I was never aware of the difficulties he’d had to deal with. Sure I knew that there had been a bad thing that happened, but what child can fully understand a disaster that took away many of his friends and co-workers? In 1972, a fire took the lives of 91 men in the Sunshine silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho. My dad was a safety director at the mine at the time. He’d just returned to work there after several years away. Just writing about it wrenches my heart. I know that the memories still haunt him, but he’s devoted his life to training others in hopes that this will never happen again.
I’m fortunate that he’s still living. He’s 82, but I swear he doesn’t look a day over 60. We live far away from each other, but he’s in my heart every day of the year. He’s always been a bit troubled by the fact that I chose to pursue the creative arts instead of going to college. He’s the practical one in the family and wanted to be sure I could support myself. So, he wasn’t quite so enthusiastic when I wanted to move to Nashville to pursue music. Still, he helped me drive across the country in a U-Haul and didn’t complain.
Yes, Dad is practical, and smart as a whip. But bottom line, I believe more than anything, he wants me to be happy. Isn’t that what all parents really want for their children? Moms worry in different ways than dads. But I know dads worry, too.
I’ve read that more flowers are delivered on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. Dad’s usually don’t get flowers, (more like ties and after shave), but please be sure to give your dad a hug. That level-headed man needs it!
And if your dad has passed, cherish his memory. For those of you who are dads, don’t forget to hug your kids. And if you live in a cold house, maybe you can warm their beds for them. Most importantly, love them and teach them how to fly.