(This is a Thanksgiving essay written by my son when he was in second grade. There were four hundred entries and his was chosen as one of the seven finalists.)
I’m thankful that I got to know my pap pap. Sometimes he and I would play tent. His foot was the pole and his chest was my sofa to sit on.
I loved to play in his garden digging trenches. I would hide a rubber snake in his plants. He and grandma would always scream when they found it.
Pap pap always found dinosuar bones in his garden. He would then put them in places that I could find them. He always would tell me where the special place was to dig.
Pap pap fixed up two go karts for me to drive. He and I made a dirt track with the farm tractor and brush hog. We had lots of fun together.
I’m thankful more now because he’s gone.
It’s been a few years since my father’s passing. I’ll never forget that day. For the first time in my life I felt like I had become a true man. Free of the overseeing father, mentor, protector, and provider. I instantly felt the weight of daily family responsibilities and decisions. I felt alone and suddenly unprepared. Out of the blue I felt that past generations of my family would now rely on me to keep their memory alive. I often wondered if I was up for the task. I always knew that if I failed at something my father would be there to help. If I had questions, he had the answers. He always accomplished everything he set out to do, without exception. He was the master of time management. He always had time for work, chores, and family. He was unknowingly, my best friend.
He tried to teach me his “tricks of the trades” that would allow me to accomplish these same feats. Many days would come and go where I felt like I didn’t pay close enough attention. I still can’t seem to accomplish nearly as much. I have more questions than answers, and time eludes me. I do make time for family, work, and chores in that order. It requires hard work, good choices, morals, values, and solid ethics. Only now do I truly understand his methods to the madness. These aren’t “tricks” as I thought. These are really family values that you try to instill in your children for future use. Hopefully these values will help them find success and happiness. In the meantime you lead them by example. As for a persons last name, it is just a name. However, with mine comes a sense of pride. As time passes I have become more like my father, and grandfather. This pride is founded on a rich family heritage and all the good things instilled in me. Things that I never realized until he was gone.
Everyday I try to lead by example and instill a multitude of values in my family. I try to convey that “you’re not alone” and I attempt to teach family history when I can. It’s probably not understood right now but, I know in my heart it will be. I’ve found that it’s tough being a father and a friend to your children. As usual I find myself wondering how my father did it. Hmmm, persistence and patience come to mind.
With that said, I wish to say thank you to my father and my friend. I love you and miss you.
"Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is" - Outlaw Josey Wales
Just like my life, this site is a work in progress.