Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day. My dad has been gone for decades. All these years later, I still miss him.
Reading all the Facebook comments and tributes to dads got me to thinking about him. Dads were different when I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s in the Midwest. They weren’t super involved in their children’s lives. Their job was to go to work and support their families. Many women were stay-at-home moms, taking care of the home and their children.
My dad was a hard worker. He ran the parts department of the trucking division of Sears and Roebuck. During the week, he’d leave early every morning. His outfit was the same … a blue uniform bearing his name, Dick Wilson. He would be carrying the lunch my mother had made for him.
I’d watch out my bedroom window in awe of this man. He seemed so smart, so strong and I knew he would always protect me. When he got home from work, he would nap. After dinner, he would take care of few things around the house. He would go to bed and in the morning start all over again.
It was the weekends that were fun with him. He was the guy in the neighborhood that would make go-carts for us all to ride around on. In the winter, he would build enormous snow forts. During the holidays we would have the most elaborate Christmas display. There was light everywhere, including Christmas songs piped onto the street!
As I was reading about all the things that people learned from their dads, I got to thinking about the lessons mine had taught me. One of the biggest lessons was to stand up to bullying. In eighth grade, I had a girl that would taunt me and threaten to beat me up daily. I would come home scared.
One day he noticed and asked me what was going on. I told him. He took me outside and taught me some fighting moves. He then told me to call the girl and tell her that if she wanted to fight, I would but not on school grounds and no audience. I was scared to death, shaking as I dialed the phone. Yes, in those days you actually have to dial a phone! She answered and, just like my father predicted, backed down immediately when I offered to fight her. I was relieved but learned a valuable lesson – never allow yourself to be bullied and always stand up for yourself.
The second lesson that sticks with me was learning how to drive. We went out in his old station wagon with the stick shift. It was not easy or fun. As I bumped along, stalling the car and trying to learn, this is what he said: “Cindy, drive by the seat of your pants.” Don’t look at the gauges to know when to shift. Feel it, hear it. He was right! It worked.
The other thing he showed me was about merging onto a street or a highway. I would sit there, kind of scared to get in traffic. He told me, “When you pull out, act like you are chasing the care in front of you. Don’t hesitate, take charge!”
These lessons have taken me though life quite nicely. Don’t be bullied, drive by the seat of your pants and take charge! I’ve found these apply to lots of things in my life. Thanks Daddy, I love you!
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