Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Dad: An Example to Live By

Dad working on his car
Every year, the anticipation of snow triggers fond memories of my dad’s perseverance and work ethic. In so many ways, he set an example to emulate for the rest of my life.

My dad grew up in the Stetson Home for Boys in Barre Massachusetts. He was not a stranger to hard times or hard work. He was tough as nails, yet, he was a soft-spoken, loyal, and a very gentle man. To shake his hand was like grasping a closing vice. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. I never knew of a day that he stayed home from work. Mom said he never did. His life was all about his family, his home, a huge vegetable garden, keeping his car up to snuff, and hard work. Dad was always supportive, never spoke harshly to me, or criticized me, and I don't remember a time when he found it necessary to discipline my brother or me.

We live in the same 200-year-old home with the same 230 x 15' driveway that requires snow removal as dad did. I remember dad shoveling the length and width of that same driveway and putting tire chains on his car so he could go to work -- sometimes in the evening, after he got home from work, but just as often early in the morning so he could leave to get to work by seven.

Today, we have three different sized snow blowers; a luxury my dad never had. On a couple of occasions, we even had it plowed.

I remember days when dad needed to make repairs on his car. Car mechanics were not right around the corner as many are today. No matter how long it took, he would repair his car, shovel the snow, eat supper, go to bed, and in the morning drive to work.

In those days, there were no highways, or expressways. It was a long precarious ride of intertwining and interconnecting streets to get to work, a roundtrip of about 100-miles.What would normally take two hours today, took my dad a great deal longer then, and even longer in a snowstorm or after it snowed.

When I was old enough to drive, Dad bought his first new car; most likely because when I drove he wanted to make sure I was safe and secure.

Through the years, I have always emulated dad's work ethic and embraced his values. I have never looked forward to winter's snow, but I endured the snow, car problems, and all of life's other hassles because of my dad's example and leadership. Now I'm retired, something my dad never got a chance to enjoy.

When things got tough, Mom told me that my dad would say, "Tomorrow will be a better day." But that better day never came for my dad. Despite his many years of loyalty, the company my dad worked for laid him off. Shortly after, he suffered a stroke and left this life at sixty-two years old.

Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green