In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to say a word or two about unconventional fathers. The dictionary defines unconventional as: "Not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed." I'd like to think of this as a good thing. We can all tick off a list of items that will generally describe most fathers; played baseball with me, likes to tell jokes, brave, took me fishing, taught me to ride a bike, etc. There's not a thing wrong with any of those traits, but what I want to talk about are the traits that make your dad, your dad, and no one else.
Growing up, my father's job did not allow for a normal 9-5 schedule. Instead it was more of the 7-3, 3-11, 11-7, and back again schedule. Because of this, he missed a lot of school functions, parties, holidays, etc. But in the big picture of life, I can barely remember myself the things he wasn't able to be there for. I remember instead the things that made him who he was. Here's a few of them......
- He relocated to Northern NY with our family, because he loved the outdoors and nature. Instead of a standard house, he built us a log cabin (Laura Ingalls anyone?), all while working a full time job.
- He planted a mass of flowers and hung bird houses all over our property. He taught us the names of all those flowers along with the birds that filled the houses.
- When other families flew to Florida for a family vacation, we rode the train to get there. I'll admit there were times when I wondered why we weren't flying for convenience sake. However, I realized that in the two days it took us to get there, we could just hang out and spend time as a family. We got to experience views of the Eastern Coast of the US that we might not have seen otherwise. I'll admit that going through Washington D.C. in the middle of the night, getting to see all the monuments lit up, was a pretty cool sight.
- He was a stickler for working hard in school, but he would be willing to set us free for a day if a teachable moment presented itself. That moment came in driving to Canada when one of the space shuttles was going to be on display for a day.
- He loved giving unusual gifts, especially in the form of food items. If he found out you liked a certain food, you got A LOT OF IT. :) Sadly I can no longer eat Kiwis or Fruity Pebbles, but you can't say he wasn't thinking of you. I'll never forget the Christmas my mom opened a jar of pickled herring from him...Siggghhhh......love. :)
- After retiring he decided to go back to work as a substitute teacher as he felt he still had something to teach....did I mention this was while I was still in High School? (I'm still recovering by the way.)
PS. Dad - I'm still really sorry for raising my hand in class that time you asked who there didn't know you...really...really...sorry..... :)