My earliest memories of my dad involve some kind of wood work. When I was 5 he made me a doll house. In the third grade he helped me build a covered wagon. He was always building, remodeling, roofing, adding on to something. It wasn’t uncommon to come home from school and find all the kitchen cabinets on the floor because he decided on a new layout or for there to be a wall missing. And he always finished his projects and they were always awesome.
He had a rough start in life third from the youngest of 16 kids born to a mean alcoholic father and weary mother. She was sick when he was born so a neighbor took him and named him while she recovered. Of the 16 kids we had 12 tested to be a possible bone marrow donor and there was one match. (in fact each of the 12 siblings had a bone marrow match with the exception of one)
He worked multiple jobs while I was growing up. He worked over nights at a packing plant and drove school bus in the afternoon. In his spare time he did roofing work and odd jobs. He always wanted us to have more than he had (and since they were dirt floor poor that didn’t take much) and was generous with us as much as he could.
We took a two week family vacation every summer camping in the mountains. I have many fond memories of those trips.
I’m not saying he was perfect. He smoked from the time he was 13 although he tried to quit several times. He succeeded after he was diagnosed with cancer. In a strange twist his cancer had nothing to do with smoking…….in one test when they were looking at his lungs the doctor let me look and said “see how pink everything is? You can tell he’s not a smoker’. I kind of choked at that.
He was a great dad and we miss him very much but today and every day I am thankful to be his daughter.