Hi everyone!! It’s my dad’s birthday and I thought in honour of that momentous occasion (and the knowledge that he is mortified at the thought of being on the Interweb and I love to torment him from time to time), I would devote today’s entry to him.
I’ve made no secret that he is a good chunk of why I am who I am. My parents divorced when I was 9 and we stayed with my dad. We grew up on the farm with him and my grandparents (and extended family) right down the road. Like within a half a kilometre. He inherited my grandmother’s storytelling soul and passed it along to me. If you sit with him long enough, you’re bound to watch him laugh himself into tears over one thing or another. He takes immense pride in his grandbabies. All of them for different reasons. Same as he did his children.
So, y’all, sit back and enjoy meeting my dad. He’s a character in the best possible way.
The second born, and second son of a farmer, my grandmother would often tell me that she was able to wrangle her other three children into the house to teach them how to cook, but my dad was the one out with my grandfather working the farm. It would make sense, then, that he was the one that took over the farm when it was time.
What this means is that when my mom left, there was a bit of a learning curve in figuring out how to run a house that contained three kids. Thank goodness for family nearby. We would have survived but it wouldn’t have been pretty. As it was, I remember the first few months being a little rocky. But we figured it out, the four of us. My brother went to daycare, my sister and I went to school. We became latchkey kids to a point. My grandfather was on the farm, and in the early days, he was always nearby.
And my dad worked. When we celebrated his 60th birthday, we had people write their memories of him and I think a good 95% of the responses commented on how hard he worked. Between his work ethic and my grandmother sending food over to the house twice a week, we got through it.
My dad is the first one to help and the last one to ask for help. Unless it’s me. He’ll call me for cooking help. The most recent was to ask me if eggs that had expired on the 9th would be good still. It was the 16th, I told him he was likely safe but if he wanted to be sure, to put the eggs in cold water and see if they would float. Floating eggs are bad.
Over the years, he has called for a variety of absolutely absurd reasons. He ran out of laundry soap once and called to ask if he could use dish soap. I told him no, to go and get laundry soap from one of his brothers or his sister before he wrecked his machine. I’m sure he could have gotten by, but we try not to encourage the crazy too often.
In our tweens and teens, he would often load us into the truck on Sundays to just go for a drive. We would listen to the country station and drive. Usually ended up a farm equipment place. And we would walk it. Now and then I would stay in the truck and read my book while he walked. I can still picture him singing along to Aaron Tippen. Or we would be driving down a particularly hilly road and he would flip his hat backwards and say “Hang on, newt, we’re headed for the rhubarb”
I still don’t know where that comes from but I say it to HockeyDad now and then.
I am who I am because my childhood was spent with him and my siblings. So here’s to my dad, he’ll likely never read this, but Happy Birthday anyway.
“He’d say you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what’s right and uphold your family name
You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”
-You’ve Got to Stand for Something
Aaron Tippin/Buddy Brock