Lesson I learned from Dad

First of all, let me begin with a Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, dads, and step-dads out there.

As my mother always said, “anyone can father a child; but it takes someone very special to be a dad.”

I got more from my step-dad than I ever did my real father.  I learned a lot from him growing up. The only thing my real father did was paid the hospital where I was born.  He complained if my mother bought me vegetables when the 3 of us went out.  He was that cheap and felt that burger and fries was enough.

I could go on about deadbeat dads out there, but that is another blog in itself.  I could go on about my real father; but I rather not.  All I will say is he must had told his family about me because they knew I existed.  If his mother had known about me, things probably would had been better.  He was easily taken advantage of by his brothers, Reuben and Melvin.

Don’t let anyone tells you that a step-dad has no rights to the step-kids.  Believe me, there are people out there who thinks that.  I know a few.

My step-dad raised me from the time I was 5 years old. He taught me a lot growing up.  He may had been a tough mean old man; that never showed his emotions; except anger.  He treated all his kids the same that way.

I’ll never forget when he asked me before he married my mother, if I would want him for a dad.

He taught me how to zip my jacket and tie my shoes.  He taught me how to fish and enter the lake different places than the loading dock; like off the side of the road.  When we went fishing up in Canada, one time I caught an eel.  When I caught it, he just cut the line to keep it out of the boat.  I was on his insurance plan when I had my tonsil taken out.

Some may say that DNA makes a person.  That may be so; but so does the atmosphere.  I find myself more and more like my step-dad in my thinking.  I may look like my real father; but I’m more like dad than you would think.

He always to speak the truth even if it hurts.  If someone is offended by the truth; you may had hit a nerve with that person and is on to something.

When you do a job, do it right the first time.  Make sure that you use good material in doing so.  He believed that oak makes good furniture and good firewood, because they are very sturdy.  Anyone who makes cheap stuff that don’t last and then try to sell it to you, he called them a Jew; because they will Jew you.

With all the stuff he had created, if he had only patented it, our family could had been better off financially.  He only had an 8th grade education but he was self-taught man.  He built the house we lived in on the farm himself with his own sawmill.  That house is still around and both parents are dead and gone.

He was into using the good stuff, even if you had to saved up for it.  He will not get cheap material.  He said, “cheap is cheap for a reason.”

He was big on saving up for things you need.  He was so against credit cards and gambling.  He said that they will be the downfall of a person.

I remember him saying, “there will be another Revolution between the government and the people.”  It look like that he might be right on that.

He believed that honesty is the best policy.

When he lost his job at Steiger Tractor, luckily we had the farm at the time.  He got some cattle.  He preferred Black Angus, because they are better keeper and take better care of their young.  He was also able to go self-employed, by fixing the neighbors equipment.  They knew that they could count on him to do the job right the first time; and he had many clients.  They didn’t care what he charge; because they it would be done right.  He had a reputation around Rollag as being good at what he does and being fair.

He didn’t have as much friends as mom did, because he was tough.

I could go into the bad side of him but that is a whole different blog.  Besides this is Father’s day and the time to remember him for the good things he had done.

I remember when a tractor broke down, I was on the broken down one as he was on the one pulling it back up to the house.  Before he got a round hay bailer, he had a square bailer; so us kids had to help him bail hay.  So I knew about hard work from the time I was 12 years old.  I remember after bailing our own hay, and then unloading a semi load of hay down the hill at the horse ranch where I worked.

I will say though, he was quite controlling.  He may thought like a Republican; but when it came to voting, he voted for the individual not the party.  It just seems that he voted Democrats more often though.  He may at times sounded like he was racist by the way he talk, but deep down, he voted for Obama in 2008.  He would never had voted for Hillary Clinton, because he felt that woman had their places.  He believed that women should be submissive to men.

Maybe it had to do with the way he was raised himself.  He was child of the Depression.  His own mother gave him up since back then having a child out of wedlock was unheard of.  His adopted mother, Clara, only took him in for her husband, Alfred.  Grandma Clara was also very tough; so maybe that why he was tough.

When he died last year in January, it was an honored to be a pallbearer at his funeral.  Since he carried all of us kids, it was the least we can do for him.  I’ll never forget while we were out West visiting relatives. I got sick and went to lay down on the davenport.  I remember waking up to him carrying me upstairs to my cousin, Nels bedroom.  I was 9 years old, not quite 10.  So you see, he even carried me.

The song by Brad Paisley, “He didn’t have to be,”  can easily be my song for him.  He didn’t had to be.  I may not been very easy myself.  Like all of the kids, we clashed with him.

He may not like who got the farm in auction; but he would be laughing at what it went for and the bidding war that occurred over it.  He would be proud of all his accomplishments.

I recently read, Rich Dad/Poor Dad.  I have to admit that he would be proud of me in my investment choices with my inheritance.  He would even be proud of me in the purchase of the mattress and dresser I got.  He would say that I didn’t blow my share of the inheritance like some member of the family had done.  He was strong believer of making your money work for you as well as work hard for what you get.

As you can see, I got more from my step-dad than I ever did my real father.  I learned a lot from him.  Some lessons were tough too.  I didn’t always agree with him.  He also made sure that we shut off the lights that we weren’t using.  We even had to conserve water.  Growing up, he wanted us to only take a bath once a week.  He took a bath less than that.  So in a way he was cheap but a wise investor.

Whereas my real father was just cheap.  When someone drop money on the floor, he would put his foot over it until they left and then pick it up.




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