My Dad loved Oreos. We ALWAYS had them in this jar labeled, “Munchies” because that’s exactly what he would do after dinner. He would munch on a couple of Oreos or a couple spoonfuls of apple sauce. It was weird but it gave him his sweet tooth fix I guess.
This is one of my all time favorite pictures of my Dad and me. I don’t know why because it goes to show even at a young age I was a messy eater. But Dad was always right there beside me so I could use his shirt sleeve to clean my face off. I blame that act on why I seem to always forget to grab a napkin when I sit down to eat. But I love how he is right there beside me, bent down to where it looks like he is telling me something. I am sure he was just sharing with me lessons on how to eat an Oreo. But then I bet he got tired of telling me how to do it, so instead he showed me.
Dad was always right there beside me if or when I needed him. He was there in all his silent yet very much known presence.
Dad was never critical of my mistakes or decisions. He never really told me what to do. He SHOWED me what to do.
The man was ALWAYS on the go and you just had to learn to keep up if you wanted to learn anything from him at all.
He was a role model in the truest sense.
He modeled how you should care for yourself, and for others.
Whether it was working all day long at the farm, Sunday nights, rainy or snowy days the man never could sit still for long. I remember during the winter months when there wasn’t much physical labor for him to do on the farm, he would go down to the basement and jump rope. Jump rope for what seemed like FOR-E-V-ER (read that in the voice from that kid on The Sandlot). And I could never get out of that jump rope session, especially during basketball or volleyball seasons.
“You need quick feet Sarah,” he’d say as I counted my jumps and he’d take a seat on the couch after he was done with his jumps and change the channel to AMC or TCM to find an old classic movie to watch. I remember asking if I should stop so I wouldn’t be in his view of John Wayne or Gary Cooper.
But no worries I was never in his way because he’d say, “Oh, you have quick feet now?”
So I would say nothing to him but start my new count of jumps.
Now that I am telling this story I should probably go pull out a jump rope and work on my “quick feet.”
He also showed me how to be strong…..
And he showed me how to have a sense of humor.
The thing that I took away most from my role model was how to treat people.
He had such a way with people. Through his actions you could tell that he really did care about his friends, family and even strangers.
After he passed away, some of my closest friends and I were sitting in the basement drinking some Miller Lites and looking at pictures. One of the boys said, “You know when he asked you how you were, he was really asking because he wanted to know. And he’d listen.”
I remember sitting there hearing that statement and thinking, “man my Dad really cared about him and he knew Dad did too.”
The man was a great friend to have. He was there if you needed help or if you just wanted to have a good time.
He had friends of ALL ages. He could go to dinner with the camping group, otherwise known as “The Village”, but end his night hanging out with my sister, me and our closest friends. He was old and young all at the same time.
He loved going to Purdue Football games and meeting up with his college roommates.
He loved going camping and to the Elks with the men from The Village.
He loved taking me to volleyball practice and starting a game of horse with some poor girl’s bored brother on an empty court.
He loved working along side his first friends, his big and little brothers on the farm.
He loved sitting around a fire with my sister and her friends drinking Miller Lite and jumping over badminton nets with the boys just to show them he’s still got it.
He just loved being around people.
You want to know how I know he loved all these things? Because he showed up, asked how they were or how he could help. He SHOWED up.
To sum it up, thanks Pops for showing me how to eat those Oreos and so much more.
Read more lessons from my Dad here and happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there!