My Daddy

Mama died when I was nine years old. My sister was 14, and brothers were 13 and 12. Sadly, I don’t remember that much about her. Even my earliest memories were more of my dad. As much as I loved my mother, I think I always was a “Daddy’s girl!”

Daddy was a professor of Building Science at our local university. He also had his own structural engineering business, so he stayed busy! Even so, I can remember him coming home from work and taking us for walks; bicycle rides (I rode in a basket on the front of his bike); helping my brothers practice baseball; working with us in the yard or garden; helping with homework; and grilling T-bone steaks every Friday night. He was always teaching us something, although I didn’t realize it at the time. In addition to things like English and Math, he taught us respect and manners; all about gun safety and use; to maintain our vehicles; how to grow, harvest, and preserve our own food; how to greet and properly introduce people; to work hard for what we want; how to drive; the thrill of gliding across the water on a sailboat; how to relax and enjoy a sunset; how peaceful it was to walk on a beach at sunrise; how to fish with cane poles; to never stop learning…

Of everything Daddy taught me, two things really stand out. One was that we are no better than anyone else. I never saw my father, a college-educated man with an IQ of around 160, talk down to anyone. No matter who they were or what they did for a living, he ALWAYS found some common ground on which to base a conversation. The other was to learn to take care of ourselves. I really wanted to just be a homemaker. I had no desire to have a career…I just wanted to stay home and raise my children. Daddy, in his infinite wisdom told me, “Learn how to take care of yourself, Nancy…you never know when you might have to!” So I did. Then when I was 28, my husband died in a motorcycle wreck and I was left to raise a six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son myself. Thank you, Daddy! You were right…and I sure do miss you!!

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