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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dad is still teaching us

I am finding that even 20 years after my father passed away his lessons live on.  I was talking with my boss about fishing a few weeks ago and told him that my dad would nail a catfish to a tree to "skin" it.  I never thought another thing about it until he came in to work and told him he had been fishing with his boys.  They were struggling to skin out a big fish and remembered what I had told him.  He nailed it to a tree and had it cleaned in no time at all.  He even took a picture of it for me. 
Phil is always calling on my dad's wisdom.  He will ask me questions about "how did Dad do it".  Sometimes I don't remember.  Sometimes I have to call one of my big sisters.  Sometimes I will remember part or all of what he did.    Usually we are able to figure out how to handle things from there. 
I remember Dad was normally able to fix anything, given some time.  He saved EVERYTHING because you never know when you are going to need it.  His shop was neatly arranged with nails, screws, bolts, nuts, washers etc each in their own can, drawer, container etc.  If you would ask him for a screw he would be able to go to his bench and know exactly where to find it.  He made lots of drawers to fit under his bench.  Each drawer had a particular tool, plyers, hammers, vice grips etc in it.  When he finished with that tool it would be put away so it could be found next time.  That is one of the things I miss so much about him when I go into our garage.  Nothing is ever put away or organized.
Some cool things I remember;  When we lived on the farm there was water trough in the barnyard that had holes in it so didn't hold water.  Dad used it for bailing wire.  Every time he opened a bail of hay he would bind up the wire and throw it in there.  Years after we moved off the farm I remember him going back to get some of that wire and using it on the acreage.    Dad saved plastic.  I don't know where it all came from, but I remember him always having plastic to cover things in the rain.  It was a very thick heavy plastic and for some reason I believe he brought it home from the quarry but I am not sure.  After he died we pulled enough plastic down from the garage attic to fill an entire dumpster!  Dad saved nails.  Every time he pulled a nail if it was usable he would pound it out on the anvil and make it straight then straight into the correct coffee can so he could find it when he needed it.  Dad saved old inner tubes from bikes as well as cars (Yep I am showing my age here).  He would use a piece of that rubber to make a washer, or wrap something so it didn't scratch someone.  He even made me a few slingshots out of them.  (People are so afraid of everything these days kids aren't allowed to have a sling shot). 
When we went fishing we usually didn't have weights for our fishing poles.  Dad would ties a spark plug or a washer on the line.  It worked great.  The swing set in our yard didn't have a regular swing, it had a swing made from a very thick piece of rubber like material scavenged from the quarry when one of the lines that carried rock broke.  We had a tire swing as well, made from an old tire!!!!   Mom and Dad didn't worry about us swinging on it .... if we hit the tree we would figure out how not to do that again. 
I had a BB gun.  I was never told that I could not shoot it without an adult around.  I knew what I could and could not shoot.  If I was stupid enough to shoot something I wasn't supposed to shoot I knew that I would get my backside tanned.  Dad wasn't the person to punish.  He would leave that to Mom.  It took me years to realize that is because he was a total softy.  I don't think he was able to spank.  He yelled a LOT, but the corporal punishment was left to Mom, and she was quite good at it!!!!!

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