A few years ago, a country AND western singer recorded a song called “The House That Built Me” and sometimes I would hear it and be all “boo hoo; that is a sad song.” (Why are country AND western songs like that?) I never downloaded it and now when I hear it, I am not so “boo hoo.” I’m over it.
About a month ago, my father and I were doing a project in his workshop (some hair-brained garden “craft project” I had cooked up in my head) and I noticed he had written something on his old hammer.
I said “what is this?”
He said “that is the hammer I built the house with.”
He went on to tell me how he and his father cut the trees which became the beams and boards of the little house I’ve called “home” for almost 48 years. I’ve heard this story before, but the writing on the hammer is new.
Our house isn’t a big house and it doesn’t have a giant yard. It was just right for us then and it is just right for us now. It’s solid; my father takes good care of it. He’s always done his best to take good care of us, too, and even though I’m all “grown up,” he’s still fixing things for me.
There is a tendency when writing in a public forum, to sugar-coat things into neat little word packages. I’d be lying if I said I have always gotten along with my father. We’re both pretty stubborn and sometimes we have quick tempers. I don’t agree with everything he says. He doesn’t like it when I “boo hoo” about things; he’s pretty tough. One time he wrestled a porcupine over on The Farm and won.
Somewhere along the line, my heart was changed and I learned to honor my father and treat him with the respect he is due. I don’t know why it took me so long; it’s not like I had a bad example. I never once in my life heard or saw my father disrespect his own father.
My father turns 79 today.
Happy birthday, Dad, and thanks for hammering away at it all these years.