My dad was a loving, sentimental, protective, patient man. He grew up on a farm, fought in World War 11 and returned to work at Allied Chemical where he became a production foreman. He worked shift work for decades while dreaming of someday moving to a farm and raising cattle. He led by example attending church regularly, following the ten commandments, working hard, paying his taxes without complaint and helping his friends and neighbors whenever he could.
At the age of 55 he learned he had a serious blockage in his heart and thought he’d never make it to that farm but luckily the surgeon who developed Heart Bypass Surgery had just moved to a local hospital and my father was his third patient at the new heart center to have the surgery. He had a new lease on life!
He then retired from his job, bought a small farm and lived his dream. Mom and Pop (a nickname I’d given him when I was a teenager) didn’t have a lot of money but they had a good life. They participated in their community as volunteers, made many friends and helped whomever they could. One time when he had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery we wondered what would happen to the cattle while he recovered. Within a couple of hours neighbors who had seen the ambulance go by had taken over his chores and said they planned to continue until he was able to do them himself. They were returning his kindnesses to them over the years.
He was content. He loved his animals. He respected them as God’s creatures and gave them great care. If he was plowing a field and saw a nest of baby rabbits or mice he’d stop, take off his cap, gently place them in it, finish plowing that row and on the way back deposit the nest of babies right where their mother could find them.
He once bought a pony because we were coming home for a one-month visit. I told him I thought that was excessive as he’d then have a pony to care for. He said he didn’t expect to live very much longer and he was trying to do things with my son that he’d remember when his grandpa was gone. He lived to the age of 89 1/2, attended my son’s wedding and knew his four great grandsons. One time a few years ago my son was driving our tractor with a huge grin on his face and telling his son, “This is how my grandpa taught me to do it.”
My dad was a good man who taught us right from wrong and loved us and my mom every day of our lives. He was proud of our accomplishments and forgave our mistakes. I often think of what a secure life we had because of his hard work. I miss him more with each passing day and I hope my grandsons will remember me when I’m gone because of the loving memories my father taught me to make.