Here are things my Dad is not planning to do anytime soon - or ever:
- move to Florida with golfing retirees
Dad always told us we could do anything we put our minds to. I believed him. Until a brief stint working at a hospital laundry service, during which it became painfully apparent to everyone that I could NOT untangle heavy, twisted, wet bedsheets at the necessary speed. Nor could I keep up with the conveyor belt of burning-hot ironed and folded clean bedsheets at the other end. I quit shortly after they all piled up in a distinctly I-Love-Lucy moment.
When we were kids, my Dad made breakfast every Saturday morning. Fried eggs and toast. And none of this sunny-side-up nonsense. Eggs were fried with salt, pepper and a little garlic, and flipped once. Toast was made by us. Dad would open my bedroom door early Saturday morning, flip on the light and holler, "cock-a-doodle-do!!!" And then he'd say, "I'm making breakfast. You're on toast."
I couldn't argue with the reasonable logic of expecting help with toast when he was making the eggs. But to this day - I'll happily make eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, even a frittata or perfectly quartered oranges. But I hate making toast.
My Dad drinks coffee. Once, when I was about 8, my sister and I went to work with him - maybe it was March Break or a PD day. I don't know. (Truthfully, it wasn't an infrequent experience. We'd have the whole church to ourselves while he worked away - we thought it was great. Eventually, he just started assigning jobs to us, similar to the "you're on toast" scenario. Now he does it with the grandkids when he has the chance. They think it's great too.) Anyway, on this particular day, I took note of the ever-present coffeepot in the church kitchen and asked him if I could have some. I distinctly remember him pausing very briefly, and then saying - "Yeah, sure." Some time later, he returned to find me sitting and slowly twirling on the countertop, coffeepot empty, sugar bowl significantly depleted. I recall thinking that his sputtered, "HOW MUCH COFFEE HAVE YOU HAD??" was probably due to the fact that he was going to have do some explaining to my Mom when we got home.
He claims he can play piano, due to the hours spent beside us on the bench while we moaned and complained, and he cheerfully repeated, "You can do it, honey ... one more time ... good job ... "
Once he's announced he's going to do something, it's as good as done, evidenced many years ago by his statement to a friend when his eyes landed on a particular girl in the church choir - "I'm going to marry that girl." He did. To my knowledge, the only thing he's ever backed down on was our mutually-agreed-upon intention to never, ever work together. We liked each other. We wanted to keep it that way. It took a little exasperated encouragement from both Mom and Spike to get us to reconsider. Turns out they were right - it WAS a good idea.
Dad grew up on a farm, and has been a chemical technologist, a public school teacher, and a pastor (from rural small-town to urban down-town). He says he still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he's having a blast figuring it out. He loves his family, he loves people, he loves his job and he loves coffee.
Happy 65th Dad!