A few short weeks ago, while many were spending their day with their fathers to celebrate Fathers Day, our family gathered with my father to celebrate not just a day to remember him as dad, but also to celebrate his 60th birthday! As a child, 60 years old seemed ancient. But then again, my father, is a bit old-fashioned himself. With his hobbies and lifestyle, he is a man that seems to have stepped right out of a history book. We grew up on a small farm, raising a variety of different animals, from ponies and oxen, sled dogs, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks, and more (ironically, never all at the same time). My father carved his own yolks and bent his own bows, starting small and using them on the baby steers. As the steers grew, so did the bows and yolks that dad had to make. He used both oxen and ponies to pull farm machinery around, despite the fact we had my great grandfathers tractor sitting in the barn. He taught us kids how to milk goats by hand while he turned what was collected into our very own goat cheese, since the taste of goats milk on our cereal wasn’t something that us kids could get used to. He wanted nothing to go to waste, and tried to teach us that anything broken could be fixed (although somethings we tried to convince him that some things were simply beyond repair). Now that he is retired, no longer does he “play” with animals, but rather he spends time giving blacksmithing demonstrations and dressing up in old-fashioned clothing, sharing his knowledge with others and exhibiting his skills on the anvil. Over the years, he filled our heads with numerous childhood stories of things his brothers and sisters used to do growing up on the family farm, repeating most of them on numerous occasions, always reliving the moment as if it just happened yesterday. Although while we were growing up, my brother and I would often say, “Here he goes again..”, knowing the stories nearly word for word that he was about to share, as adults, I think we have realized that dad’s memories have taught us some rather important life lessons. Now as adults, the words my father shared, we can now pass on to our own children; words about History, traditions, hard work, and so much more.
Without a doubt, I have learned plenty from my father. He will always be my Papa Smurf, and I’ll always be his little Squirt.
Love you, Dad!!