The Nicest Gift My Dad Gave Me

What makes a good Dad? Most moose never get to know.

It could be when a thankful son or daughter looks at a man who is probably quite ordinary and just trying his best for his family but they see something special.

Dad was the consummate hard-working provider, from 6:30 in the morn until work done at night. He was driven to be the breadwinner, yet never stressed about money or having enough lichen and ferns on the table. I was blessed to spend time with him daily at his workplace. That was a wonderful day in, day out stabilizing gift.

The second best gift Dad gave me was a one-time special event — what he did on the night of my graduation from high school. He came! Sitting on the front row during the ceremony, trying to look dapper in my gown but probably looking more like diaper (which I honestly hope you can’t picture in your mind), I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked back and saw Dad sitting in the audience! I never expected him to come and had no inkling that he was coming. I don’t think Mom knew. Dad never came to any school or social functions. And even more amazing, he was wearing a suit! I think that was the only time I ever saw him in one besides his wedding picture and I think it was the same suit — that still awaits coming back into style.

But the nicest gift my Dad gave me occurred toward the end of his life, and maybe that helped make it the best gift.

Dad would have never written a blog. I don’t remember him ever writing anything. He didn’t even write checks because he always paid cash.

He graduated from high school in La Junta, Colorado in 1943, and back then most graduates probably knew how to write basic sentences. He served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater in World War II so he surely wasn’t illiterate. But I certainly had no idea what kind of a writer he might be.

Until in the last year before he was afflicted with alzheimer’s, he gave me the nicest gift. And it certainly was a surprise one!

One day out of the blue, Dad handed me 6 jam-packed pages front and back of handwritten details on lined yellow paper about his life, covering most of the big major factors. It displayed no literary fluorishes, but it was factual and organized. In those 6 pages I learned some important aspects of my Dad’s life before he could no longer share his thoughts with me and eventually didn’t even know it was me.

Those of you with kids or grandkids would do them a huge service by passing on to them the story of your life while you still can. Ann Landers and Dear Abby often recommend this. You could do this by talking into a tape recorder and then having someone transcribe that into print. I suppose you could record tracks right into a CD.

Or as ol’ Broose is doing, you could write the story of your life on your computer. You could use chonological order. Or you could use James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness technique where you write down thoughts as they come to mind. If like me, you’ll grow in patience waiting for the next one!

The hard part is to just get started (remember my first blog?). There is an unforgiving deadline.


FUN FACT: What could be better than a stream of consciousness!  We are at home in water and, no brag, are pretty good swimmers, churning up to 6 mph. We can paddle several miles at a time, making us wonder why dogs get the credit. We can stay under water for 30 seconds or more, which helps when it’s time for baptism.


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