This coming Sunday, June 20, is Father's Day, a special day set aside to honor the contributions of the person we know as "father." For many of us, however, Father's Day is a difficult holiday to celebrate. It's difficult for my siblings and I since our father passed on in 1993. Nevertheless, we continue to honor his memory by sharing fond memories of him with one another and remember everything that he has taught us in his lifetime. Although he was taken from us before his rightful time, I feel as though he lived a rather full life and left this world with very little, if any regrets.
I remember my father as a relatively simple man who - quite simply - enjoyed the simplicity of life. He was a fairly humble man; never too proud of himself. He was the typical doting dad and was far from perfect, but he had my love and respect simply because he was my father and I looked up to him, just as any son would. I never really knew him as anything but my dad, and he took his role very seriously. I remember all the lessons he taught us while we were growing up. His motto to my younger sister, younger brother and I was always, "Don't do as I do, do as I say."
To this day, I still feel strongly that one of the best educations I ever received was from my father. He taught me a number of valuable lessons that I continue to carry with me to this very day. He taught me many useful things as I was growing up, including how to change a flat tire, what to do when you get stuck in the mud or in loose sand, how to drive a stick shift, how to shoot a rifle, and various other lessons that can only be appreciated by someone like me.
He also taught me a number of other things, like how to flare my nostrils, which I sometimes do to make my niece smile. I remember herding sheep with him when I was still a teenager, and listening to him teach me about some of the wild edible plants that grew around the sandy washes where we would take our sheep to graze. I would watch as he took an old coffee can, some pebbles and baling wire and within 10 minutes, fashion a hand rattle that he would use to herd the lambs around and keep them with their mothers. Whenever he started on something like that, it was always amazing to watch what he could create. He was like McGyver.
As I sit back and reflect on these and many other cherished memories, I can't help but envy those who still have their fathers. This year, my father would have been 75-years-old and been a loving grandfather to an adorable three and a half year old granddaughter. I hope one day to be able to influence and awe my potential progeny much like my father did with me.
Today, nearly 17 years after my father's passing, he still has as much influence on my life as when he was still living. I carry with me his name and his legacy. His lessons will live on through me. For those of you who still have fathers in your lives, cherish them as much as you can, and learn as much as you can from them. Even though your own father may not be perfect, learn to respect them for who they are, and let them influence you in their own special way.
To all the fathers out there, have a very happy and safe Father's Day.