Thanks, Dad!

I keep a photo of my father on the desk beside my computer monitor. He's at a swap meet, dressed in jean shorts, old car shirt, suspenders and the ever-present chapeau. And he's smiling. My dad was a professional man, an intellectual man, who loved his wife and kids and worked really hard for everything he had. He loved his life.

Dad's life really started over again when he retired from Boeing after 30-some years and started his spark plug business. He loved being an engineer, but it was stressful. Dad and Mom toured Alaska for several weeks immediately after his retirement. The first time I saw him after their return, he was different. Yeah, he had grown a beard and was wearing jeans, but his demeanor was completely changed. He was relaxed!

Our family spent the next few years hanging out together on holidays and vacations. Dad chased grand kids around, teaching them to fish, reading the funnies together and hand-cranking homemade ice cream. He and Mom traveled all over the U.S., meeting new friends and selling antique spark plugs.

Dad died of cancer on July 2, 2005. He did it on his own terms...at home. He fought the good fight, he finished his course. I spent the last week of his life with him. We talked and cried and laughed, and he smiled when I sang for him.

I miss him every day. I still talk to him. I still need his advice! He reminds me to keep moving forward, to let stuff pour off my back, and to eat that elephant one bite at a time. When I get really discouraged or pouty or whatever, I know he tells me to "just get on with it, Carol!"

So this past week was hard for me. It is every year, but I treasure every day we spent together, every hug that he gave me and even the times he was hard on me. Because I know I was loved by my father. Now when I see a penny on the ground, I pick it up. It's a love note from my daddy!
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