The memories came pouring in.
I was thinking about my dad and it was quite amazing how fast and how many different moments came to mind. I especially enjoyed the huge variety of memories from throughout his life, not just those poignant ones at the end of his journey.
One of my most favorite memories were the many times we stood quietly on a ditch bank, waders on and shovels in hand, overlooking water moving through a field. Many times, not a word was said, but much was communicated.
It was on those ditch banks I discovered dad really loved me and he really cared about me.
Join me as I share 51 memories of my dad, as I just turned 51. May my memories inspire positive memories of your father, or another who was significant in your early life.
The last memory I share is the one I’m most grateful for.
1. Feeding pigs on cold winter mornings.
2. The sweet smell of fresh cut hay.
3. Learning the hard way why you drain hoses in the winter.
4. Milking cows by hand.
5. Sitting in the truck listening to Bruce Williams dish out financial advice on talk radio.
6. Sorting and bagging potatoes.
7. Wood cutting trips to the mountain.
8. A blue International pickup truck.
9. Deer hunting on Joseph Mountain.
10. Pine hen stew during the deer hunt.
11. Moving irrigation pipe in Annabella.
12. Bottle-feeding day-old dairy calves.
14. His shovel, which always carried a good edge, which I now use.
15. My dad’s headlamp and waders he wore while irrigating, and those darn pesky mosquitoes.
16. Working road construction in Delta and learning how to grease vehicles and “Chase Redheads.”
17. Dad’s advice to “Get back on the horse son” after being bucked off Trigger.
18. Scratchy stubble.
19. His courage in surviving a near-fatal farming accident.
20. Learning to drive the green Suburban at age 12 on the Annabella Road.
21. Learning to drive and nearly ending up in the canal along the Annabella Road.
22. His green Army uniform and polishing his boots.
23. Wanting to be an Army guy “just like Daddy.”
24. The first time I heard him say, “I love you son.”
25. The many times I’ve heard it since then.
26. Thanksgiving shotgun shooting.
27. Stories of being stationed in Japan while in the Air Force.
28. His Air Force roommate who didn’t make it home after a brief “advisory” trip to Vietnam.
29. Hitchhiking home from California and surprising his family at Christmas time.
30. Living in the trailer on the farm.
31. Fixing windshields at the glass shop where he worked.
32. An overnight road trip to Sanpete County to replace windows in several homes.
33. Not being ‘shot’ when I measured the glass only once and thus had to cut twice.
34. Missing the last day of 6th grade to go to Salt Lake on the glass truck.
35. Playing catch, amazed he could throw with both hands.
36. The basketball games he watched.
37. The hitchhikers he brought home who got a warm meal and a place to sleep.
38. Shoveling snow for our neighbor old Cora Howes because “that’s what we did.”
39. Helping him clean the church we grew up in.
40. That one time we played basketball in the church gym.
41. Standing together looking over a field and not saying a word.
42. Visiting him after school at the place he was staying when I was 16.
43. He never gave up on me.
44. The shirt off his back.
45. Our near daily visits on the phone.
46. The first time I saw him scared when I was lying in a hospital bed having just been diagnosed with cancer.
47. The many times he said, “Keep your chin up son.”
48. Teaching me how to cut hay on Mike Sorenson’s old International Harvester swather.
49. Tough conversations we learned how to work through.
50. Learning to understand what he was really trying to say even though his words didn’t always say as much.
51. The gift he didn’t know I had given him until many years later.
THE GIFT DAD DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT
I gave my dad a gift one time he didn’t know I had given him until many years later.
That gift slowly started to change my life. I gained a level of understanding as I learned to develop and feel empathy for him. Dad walked a difficult journey through life, the challenges of which often made a negative impact on who I saw myself being and becoming.
We reach that point of extending forgiveness, whether with a dad or another, in our own time that’s right time for each of us.
For me, I wish I could have done it much sooner.
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to jot down some memories of your own. Can you come up with 51?
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