Tag Archives: dad

My Best Set of Towels

My father was very logical and therefore practical. This combination didn’t preclude him from appreciating quality however. Logically, after all, if you bought a higher quality item at the outset and didn’t have to replace it several times over with cheaper imitation items, you were better off. He was usually right. The $60 dress he bought for me when I was a mere girl of 16 still hangs in my closet, because it was of high quality.

But when dad made up his mind to do something, practical and logical trumped any preconceived ideas. He displayed this many times, including the time he used my best set of towels. Mom and Dad were visiting us at our home in New Mexico. Dad determined that before they began their trip home to Oklahoma, he needed to wash the car. The next thing I knew, my father was using wash cloths from my best set of towels to wash the car.

When I expressed my disappointment over the matter, dad looked confused. He simply said something like he didn’t think it was my best set of towels. Dad was right. I was wrong. I wish he were still alive today so I could explain my silliness and thank him for delivering me from a life of constriction inside a self made box.

You see, I only had a few real “sets” of towels. Most of our towels in our early poor stages of marriage were old ones gathered from “the barn.” This was a family kept repository of things grandmothers had at one time owned. These rounded out my linen cabinets, but this one set, it was actually a real set, not hand me down old things. The problem was, that this set of towels had seen quite an amount of use and were looking older than many of the hand me down towels. Of course dad was right, it didn’t look like my best set of towels, because it wasn’t.

Don’t worry, we eventually got new towels and there are no longer any vestiges of the relics from the barn. But there are two hand towels from my best set of towels, that have now been set at a position of elevated rags. They remind me of how I got caught up on “a perfect set” of something and failed to realize it was worn and good for nothing more than washing a car. It was certainly not worth any damage I might have done to my relationship with my father.

Hopefully I’ve been freed from seeing “perfect sets” all the time and can be honest with myself and with others when something is old, worn and needs to be replaced. Hopefully I’ve learned to always see people as more important than things. Hopefully I’ve gotten at least a little bit of my father’s logical and practical wisdom. I’d take even the smallest amount and be grateful.

 

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April 19th

I started off this morning googling today’s date in history and then calling my mom. April 19th has a lot of meaning for us.

I was a radio station news director in college when the Branch Davidian Siege is Waco turned deadly. It was on April 19th. My parents came to visit Karl and I a few years later in Illinois to celebrate our big announcement of a coming baby. They decided to stay longer by a day and rearranged some of their doctor appointments they had for April 19th in Oklahoma City. Instead of being in the middle of it, they heard about it on their drive home from our house. Sources linked some of the motive to retaliation for the Waco incident by the bombing of the Federal Building in OKC, which reportedly held some of the ATF records.

April 19th became a day that for a few years after that 1995 explosion, people took extra precautions.

Nothing could prepare us for April 19th, 2003. Dad was far too young to die of brain cancer, but he had put himself through radiation and other treatments to try to stay alive until I could have my third and final child and come to visit. He got to hold baby Greta in his hospice bed. She never got to know him and what an incredible person he was.

So I called my mom today. Told her I was thinking of her and both of us looking forward to seeing Dad again someday. I don’t think we’ll worry about April 19th anymore.

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Why I Need my Dad

I was home schooling my oldest son and we were doing a science project with magnets. The only problem was, we didn’t have the right kind of magnets. A simple trip to the store was planned and I studied the magnets carefully before deciding which to purchase. This is something that I would gladly let my dad handle whenever he was visiting, but that wouldn’t be happening anymore. Cancer came. Now I had to stare at the magnets and remember how my dad always insisted on quality and the right tool for the job. I chose the magnets based on what I believed my dad would have advised.

It has been nine years since my dad passed away, but I still miss him. I still miss what made him special and how he still fit into my life, even after I got married and started my own family. I came to the conclusion several years ago that a girl always needs her dad, no matter how old she gets. She always needs that father figure in her life.

Stop! Don’t lynch me yet. I know there are folks out there who had a rotten father, an absent father or didn’t even know who their father was. But I’m pretty sure that somewhere along your life’s journey, you developed a relationship with someone who became a father figure to you.

My husband is great and I love him dearly, but he’s not my dad. He was never supposed to be. So Karl continues to be my best friend, my lover, the father of my children and my partner in life, but not a father figure in my life. That’s his role to our children, not to me.

So what do I do? I stop, take a look around and thank the gentlemen in my church and my community who have been father figures to me since my dad’s death. To every man out there who took the time to be there for someone who wasn’t your own child – thanks. You’re a lot like my dad.

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