Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

The first Father's Day was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton in 1908.  It was to celebrate the lives of 210 miners who had died in a mining accident in West Virginia the previous December.  It was a one-time deal, but other people later felt that it was important to have Father's Day and a proposal to have it recognized as an official holiday in the U.S. was put forward in 1913 - indicating that it was definitely celebrated by that time.

Although the day has become commercialized by card companies and others, it is a great time to remind ourselves about the influence our fathers have had in our lives.

I won't get into too much detail, but my father came from a household with a rather violent and mean male head.  The issues he's had to deal with because of this have been very large.  But he came out of it mostly in one piece and able to raise his own family.

My father is a really good man.  He is one of the most caring people I know.  Nothing makes him happier than to help other people.  And I admire him for that.  He's also incredibly intelligent and a perfectionist (a trait I learned from him, but am trying hard to get over).  He tends to have a bit of a temper, but considering his father, it's nothing.

When I think back on all the things my father taught me, it is rather mind boggling.  My dad worked as an ambulance attentant for 14 years, and first aid was just something that always was part of our education.  And as a firefighter, fire safety was, too.  I still find it hard to leave the dryer going when I leave the house.

I also learned to never say: "Can I (fill in the blank)".  Because the answer would invariably be "I don't know.  Can you??"  Of course, the proper way to say it was "May I ..."  I wonder if his grandmother pounded that into him.  Grammar was important.  And it still is to me.  Although I'm trying to teach my son that you don't say "May you please get me ...." 

There are, of course, too many things to list.  But if I had to choose the most important thing my father taught me, it would have to be integrity.  To stay true to who you are and the promises you've made.  And if it's right, stand up for it.  No matter what.  I don't know if he saw that as being true to himself or just being true to what was right, but either way, I've taken it forward with me and feel that it's all important to stay true to what you believe. 

So thanks, Dad.  For everything.  I love you.  You really are a great guy.

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