My Father crossed over in 1998, so every Father’s Day I remember and celebrate the Father and man he was. He was a farmer who loved the Earth and all it provided. He was a big man 6’4″ tall, a big frame and he weighed 220 or so pounds. He was a gentle man for the most part. He loved the land and the animals. My first memories are of living on the farm with chickens, pigs, cattle, and fields of wheat or fresh plowed soil. Each day was a work day, except Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday all day, the Lord’s Day. When you live on a farm, your family is all there is to interact with and you are very close. Each person had chores no matter how small we were as we learned to do something useful with our time.
My Father’s sister and brother and their families lived up the road from our farm, so there was more family around. My Father’s parents lived in town about 10 miles from our farm. There were aunts, uncles, cousins on my Father’s side and more aunts, uncles, and cousins on my Mother’s side, but only one of her brothers was close. My Father taught me by his actions the value of family and how much they meant to him.
Some years later, we moved to Colorado and left the vast comfort of these family connections. My Father had wanted to live by the mountains since he was a boy and was able to fulfill that dream. He loved living by the mountains even though it meant he had to drive 165 miles to his farm. It was especially hard on him physically and in all ways to be separated from us. We would go out to the farm to stay in the summer to help with the harvest and all that went with that until we were in our teens and had jobs. He loved having us there to be with him at the end of the day. He was lonely without us.
I was the closest to him as I didn’t mind getting dirty and would go with him whenever I could. I would help him by handing him tools or doing whatever he asked. I loved being outside. I was not fond of being cooped up in the house and doing all of the work that was required to feed harvest hands, wash clothes on a wash board, and so forth. We would ride along and he would point out the state of the various fields, whether they needed to be gone over to cut down some weeds, whether it was time to plant the wheat, whether he needed to get someone on the bind weed (he had a thing about bind weed), and whether it was time to call the harvesters. He taught me to read the land and crops and love being outside.
He taught me to read the weather by the clouds, the smells in the air, the wind velocity, and by the birds and animals’ behavior. He told me about the people who lived on the farms we would drive by. He had what I called an “audio memory,” in that he remembered everything about the people, their parents, their background, their children, grandchildren which I considered remarkable. In his generation he had to rely upon his memory and important information was passed by word of mouth. His very livelihood depended upon him remembering the teachings of his Father and others about all the things involved in farming and living. He taught me to listen and hear to what people were saying and feeling at a deeper level.
He went on to learn everything he could about new ways of farming and eventually had foreign farmers come to his farm to learn better farming methods. He also went other countries to show farmers the new methods. He was a simple man but had such vision where farming was concerned. He was considered a Master Farmer in his generation.
There were seven years when he did not have a crop due to drought and he had to borrow money from the bank for us to live on. My Mother, older sister and I all had to go to work to help the family make it through this time. It was very hard on him and my Mother. He paid every penny he borrowed back to the bank; he did not file bankruptcy or evade his debts in any way. He was an honorable man with great strength of character. He taught me to work together to keep the family together during good times and difficult times. He taught me that love is more valuable than money. He taught me to be responsible about paying my bills on time, and when I had to borrow money to work until I completely paid back the money I owed.
He was a religious man who went to church on Sunday, who helped his fellow farmers and their families when he could, and loved his close and extended family. After he moved to Colorado, he would write and call his sisters every week and they did the same with him. He taught me to stay connected with those I love. He was a deeply loyal man, one who would be there for you. He prayed at every meal, at bedtime and often. He thanked “the Good Lord” for all his blessings and those of his family. He taught me to pray for myself and all those around me.
He enjoyed a cocktail once in a while, but he was not a drinker. He loved the wonderful food my Mother made for him and he was a man who did not leave anything on his plate. He enjoyed having family and friends over to visit or play cards or just be together. Mother made sure our home was open to welcome all with warmth, food, drink, and conversation. Dad treated everyone the same no matter whether they were one of his employees or a high-level official from the Department of Agriculture. He knew who he was inside himself. He loved telling stories from years ago with whoever was visiting. He loved interacting with family and friends, teaching me the value of enjoying everyone no matter their status in life and the simple joy of just being together with people.
He always bought Mother a dozed long-stemmed Red Roses for special occasions showing her his love for her. He was generous with her and us in taking us on trips, buying us cars when the time came we needed them, taking us out to dinner, and bringing us gifts from his trips. He loved our gifts to him and was appreciative of whatever we got for him. He was affectionate and gave me hugs often. He showed me how to give and how to receive love in all ways, not just materially.
There are three daughters in our family and each of us felt like we were his favorite. This is a rare and precious gift to give your children, the feeling of equality of love. He and I thought the most alike in business matters and later on in life in general. He was a person I could tell exactly what I thought when I did not like something and he would talk with me about it. He taught me respect for him and myself, to value my opinion and to stand up for myself.
When he got lost within himself, he found his way back through prayer and reading The Bible, and I am guessing talking with family and friends. He would not have called himself a spiritual man, but I do as his spirit was so all-embracing that it uplifted those with whom he came in contact by his words and actions.
He comes to me in Spirit and guides me with his strength, his wisdom, his kindness, his simple ways, his thoughtfulness, and his abiding love for the path I am journeying. I am so very grateful to have such a wonderful Father. I send him all my love on Father’s Day and every day as he means the world to me and always will.
He loved dogs and cats. Reggie and he would have had a wonderful time had they met in the physical. They have a wonderful time in spirit as Reggie connects with him when he goes off in his dream time and at other times. Nancy and Reggie♥