My Dear Old Dad

Left to right: family friend, brother, mom, me, and dad
This last month my dad had a birthday and I figured writing a blog post about him would be a neat gift. This last fall my dad retired from his job here in Fairbanks and moved to Missouri with my mom and dog. For as long as I can remember my dad has been the type to wake up before 6, work until 5, and come home hungry and tired. Somehow though,he would still have enough energy to enjoy his evening relaxing with the family, getting something productive done around the house, or volunteering with the local Boy Scout council or church groups. For a long time I was convinced my dad didn't like having fun because he would choose to tinker with small construction/maintenance jobs around the house instead of watching TV or doing something that some may deem a waste of time. What I later learned though is that my dad actually just enjoyed being productive, thrifty, and helpful. 

Mom and dad with my cousin

I don't want this to sound like an obituary for my dad because he's definitely very much still alive. However, I do want to share my appreciation for the man who taught me so much. Above anything else, my dad was a very hard worker. "Work smart, not hard" he would always say, yet I noticed he wasn't afraid of working smart and hard in order to get a job done. I remember him getting called into work in the middle of the night for a 10 minute fix that got the power plant he worked at operational again using only a string to troubleshoot an electrical issue. One winter when it was -30 or colder, our neighbors' furnace gave out around midnight, and they knew they could count on my dad to be more than willing— happy even — to invite the young family over to sleep on our couches until my dad could get their heat going again. He taught me the value of hard work, critical thinking, and a willingness to serve. I think he also helped contribute to my levels of optimism. When asked how he's doing, I recall him pulling out his usual quip "Oh, just another day in paradise."

Family reunion. (Shirts say: Why be normal?)

My dad also knew how to have fun, though. My childhood was filled with adventures through the woods on hunting trips (which my dad liked to call armed camping), hikes, geocaching trips, boating rides around the Chena River, and many more. One of his favorite things to do when my brother and I got older was to sit down after dinner and play 4-person spades. It was always a fun time that included ice cream, laughter, good-natured competition. Family dinners always consisted of listening to the crazy things my dad got up to at work that day. This could include anything from frustrating coworkers, cribbage games over lunch break, or times he pranked or got pranked by people he used to work with. One of my favorite prank stories was at a former job there was a day crew and a night crew that used the same work truck. Some guys from my dad's day shift shop rewired the truck so the windshield wiper fluid was rerouted to come out into the lap of the driver instead of on the windshield. Classic prank. 

Sister, me, Mom, Oldest Bro, Youngest Bro, Dad, Sister-in-Law, Middle Brother

Anyway, thanks for reading if you did. If you're my dad, thanks for raising me! If you're my mom, you've got one coming next month for Mother's day. 

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