My wife, Carla, says I’m becoming more like my dad every day. I sleep while watching television, can’t figure out newfangled TV technology, have the bulging middle and more.
Being like my dad is a compliment in my book. The only downside is that it reminds me I’m getting old. My dad, Robert, passed nearly eight years ago now, and I still miss him every day. If you say I’m growing more like him — there could be far worse things someone could say to me.
Like father, like son
It was the coldest day in three years when the lightbulb went off and I realized I was truly acting like my father. The temperature was well below zero that morning, and water that hadn’t frozen in years froze up. Neither my car nor truck parked outside would start.
I took Carla’s van to the doctor for a follow-up visit. I’ve known the doctor a long time — our kids showed pigs together in 4-H. When he came into the exam room, he told me what I needed to know. Then we spent the next 20 minutes talking about Purdue football, 4-H pigs and such.
Huh. As I recall, my mom always complained that’s what my dad did — talk to the doctor about Purdue sports. He came home telling her all kinds of stories. But when she asked what the doctor said about his health, he often responded, “Oh, not much. I will be OK.”
The only difference was that at least my doc and I got our business out of the way before we chatted.
Here’s the kicker, though. Later that same day, two FFA students helped me give the sheep shots and finish getting the lambing barn ready. It was so cold, the animal marking spray froze up. Plastic twist ties snapped in my hand! That’s cold.
Plus, hanging lamps, I noticed a section of the roof was sagging. What else could go wrong?
I went to the garage to get supplies, worrying about all these things. Our garage doesn’t have a drain. Water had dripped from the van and collected on the floor. Instead of looking for supplies, I instinctively grabbed the squeegee and began shoving water out the door.
Hey, it had to be done. But right then, with kids waiting on me and a dozen things to fix?
Zap! That’s when it hit me. I was my dad! I flashed back to a busy spring many years ago. Dad was still farming, but my brother and I planted and sprayed. Dad did tillage work.
One day in mid-May I was planting, and I noticed Dad stopped by the fencerow. He was still stopped the next time around. I went to check, and there he was, pulling weeds out of the fencerow! They needed to be pulled, but right then? Instead of working ground?
Pushing water out took my mind off things for a few minutes. I guess that’s what Dad did: When there’s so much to do that you don’t know what to do first, do something useful — even if it’s not what really needs to be done right then.
The ceiling got fixed, the vehicles started, and that evening I dozed more than once watching Purdue play on TV. Have I turned into my dad? I certainly must claim him!