Wednesday, May 12, 2010


One of the things that drove my dad absolutely batty was watching his father-in-law, and in later years his son stand around staring off into the middle distance on a perfectly good day apparantly doing nothing when in his opinion, action was called for. Every good farmer needs to take a few minutes in his day to inventory all those things that are in the process of wearing out or needing imminent repair in order that when he goes to town for parts he gets all that he needs. That is what we were doing and in the end I know it saves time and avoids trips. Dad knew this too, and at least he overtly respected it with my grandad, but he made no bones about getting after me, his eldest son, for standing around wasting daylight when there were things to be done ! He also couldn't abide someone lollygagging around when entering or exiting a house. He would physically hurry folks though any open door all the while saying, "C'mon, c'mon...get a move on through that door...wasting heat ya know...". I actually find myself replicating him on that as my wife Melissa will attest. :)

As anyone who knew him will readily remember, dad was a type A personality on steroids when it came to getting work accomplished. One of the best descriptions of him I've ever heard came from one of our neighbours, a man known himself to be a hard and persistent worker. While talking about dad one day and not knowing that I was standing directly behind him, he shook his head and said that John was a man that went through life at an angle of 20 degrees to the forward in high gear all the time. He was exactly right with his metaphor; it's one I use to this day to describe my dads' working tendencies and general mannerisms to those that didn't know him.

Of course there were other sides to the man as well. He was, underneath the bluster, a big, tender and gentle man who in a lot of respects kept a childs heart throughout his life. He commanded an instant presence when he entered a room; so much so that I can see him yet, looking around and over his shoulder at the silence that was moments before a chattery party, bellering at the crowd that by God as near as he knew this wasn't a funeral and they'd better keep having fun ! I've seen him laugh and cry in the space of a few minutes when he was entertaining with or being entertained by his many friends.

Sadly, his name, his legacy and his sons are all he leaves in this world. He died after suffering a massive heart attack while working in Chicago, Illinois. He had heart problems for much of his adult life and suffered two heart attacks of moderate severity while he was stillin his 30's. His mother's family is riddled with heart problems; in addition to killing my grandmother it has killed second and third cousins, great-uncles and my uncle, dad's only brother, late in the fall last year.

On Monday of this week I celebrated a birthday and every year I get older I spend a little more time thinking about my own mortality. This is espcecially true around my birthday and for a little while after. Lest readers think that I've morbidly got one foot stuck in the grave, what I actually think about isn't how I'm fixing to die...rather the focus is on living fully and accomplishing what I want to in a timely fashion. This isn't a dress rehearsal, although I see a lot of folks living their life as if it were.

Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday !

1 comment:

RuckusButt said...

Deep post, I'm sorry I missed it until now. It amazes me just how hard it can be to really live. I think doing something you love that also earns a good living is a huge part of that. But then "success" can be defined in so many ways.

I think I would have really liked your father. Sounds to me like he left a lot of good in this world.