What image of your father is the most striking in your memory? Why that image?
This question brought not one, but three things to mind:
1. My father kept his promises. This sticks in my mind for one promise in particular. We were supposed to go fishing one Saturday. I walked into his office and announced I was ready to go. Without turning from his desk, he said he had a lot of work to do. Crushed, I silently turned and walked out of the room. But a little bit later the same morning, he came to me and said, “Come on, son, let’s go fishing.”
2. From before I knew people had jobs, until I was in college myself, my father was a teacher (high school, junior high, and college). But more than that, he taught me how to pitch tents, mow lawns, pound nails, saw straight lines, drive a tractor, milk goats, clean fish, throw hay bales, dress rabbits, balance a log on my shoulder, set fence posts, stretch barbed wire, and on and on …
3. He wasn’t afraid to let me learn the hard way sometimes. When I fell into a hole in a river at age twelve, and was screaming and thrashing, he didn’t pull me out. Instead, he crouched next to me and spoke calmly until I calmed down and found it was only neck deep. (Before anyone accuses him of not caring, let it be known that he did fetch me up from the bottom of a pool when I was much younger.)