Christmas Day, 2002

We were up late last night...not doing the 'some assembly required' thing for our children, but for my mom. We assembled a 'book of memories' for her...had a dozen old friends and family members who wrote stories of her growing up and life with my dad. It was interesting to read how, once they got married, my dad's persona seemed to dominate. The stories were almost always about him.

It is my eighth Christmas without my father. I had him for twenty seven, and wish I had twenty seven more. Dad was an enigmatic figure...brilliant, uneducated, soft spoken yet gregarious...and as he loomed large in my mothers life, so he did in mine.

Some of the stories were things I didn't know...like how he helped the neighbors' kids order a .410 shotgun from the Sears & Roebuck catalog (this would have been in the early 60's in North Dakota, before kids learned that guns were dangerous from playing video games). An aunt wrote of her teasing dad so long that he finally lost his cool and threw her in the rain barrel. Other stories were family favorites that we've retold regularly...his love for children, and his habit of assigning his current pickup truck a personality that would develop over the years as he drove it.

My dad instilled in my the importance of being the same person in front of all people - he detested favoritism or micropoliticians, although he would have never used either of those two words. He just knew there was a Way of Doing Things, and that Way superceded the atmosphere in which the decisions were made. You did things Right.

I miss Dad. I'm glad he got to meet his oldest grandson, but wish he could have met the next two. My oldest son has his hands, my middle son his eyes. I hope to have his heart.

If you can, call your dad today. I would.

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