My dad

My dad has impacted my life in a way that no other has.  Many tell me I act just like him.  I can see the resemblence in some of our characteristics.  I take that as a compliment although others may not mean it that way.  Let me tell you why.

I was raised in a very strict family.  My dad became a pastor in 1980.  I was only 5 years old.  I can remember living in Bradford and having a older brother and just one younger sister at the time.  My dad worked fulltime at General Motors and then was working on cars in the evenings and weekends.  I remember visiting him out in the garage on occasion.  We would chat sometimes and other times I was just in the way.  But I remember he would ask me to get him a tool.  At 5 years old I wasn’t sure what a phillips or straight was – he taught me. 

As I grew older and we moved several times – him always working at General Motors and also pastoring and working on cars on the side.  He was trying to keep food on the table and provide for a wife and 5 children.  I didn’t realize then that he worked hard to provide for us.  It wasn’t him just avoiding us but trying to meet our needs and our wants. 

When we moved to Sidney – I remember some of the challenges presented.  He was pastoring a church in Sidney and we were living in the parsonage next door.  I was still living at home at age 18 (which I continued to do so until I married at age 25).  Because we were a pastor’s family it was a must that we must also keep in line with the dress “code” that the church held.  Dad had gotten me a position at Delphi and I felt as though I didn’t fit in.  So after about 6 months or so after working there, I decided to start wearing pants to work and then change before I got home.  Uhhhh…..didn’t work out so well for me b/c Dad visited me one day at work as he was working next door and seen me in the pants.  I was heartbroken as I knew I had disappointed him.  He never mentioned it to me though and let me grow knowing that there were some decisions that I needed to make on my own.  I just had to respect his boundaries – no wearing pants in the house and he kept mum (probably very difficult) on what I wore when I was out.

I remember going out driving with him and the different tidbits of information he offered that still stick with me to this day……

when you come to a curve you don’t have to use your break the curve will slow you down – take your foot off the gas.

if you ever date a guy and there isn’t a door handle on the inside of his car – don’t get in – cause you probably can’t get out!

don’t drive mad – I remember wanting to leave one day b/c I was so angry and he took my keys away from me and wouldn’t let me leave.

He also taught me how to change my oil in the car and care for it.  I remember with pride changing my alternator in my 88 Ford Escort GT and being so proud of myself.  I took it up to AutoZone to get another and the guy said “when whomever puts this back on”…..I said “that will be me”.  I was able to fix it all by myself and was so proud.  I learned how to care for my car b/c my dad took the time to show me.

In many other areas of life – there were things that he repeated and I remember and they stick with me and at times pop in my head. 

Don’t scrimp on a mattress or shoes – because if you aren’t in one, your in the other. 

My dad has been a great inspiration to me and has always motivated me to do my best.  He has been there to cheer me on and to help me through some sticky situations without completely bailing me out.  He had told us that he would pay for our first ticket.  I had went away to a college for a weekend at age 16 and got a speeding ticket on the way home (it was about 3 hours away) – just as I was turning to go the last couple of blocks home – I hit the back of a car – thinking that it had turned.  I took him 2 tickets that day.  My first 2 – I think that he got the bad end of the deal as he paid for both of them since they happened in the same day and both my parents went to court with me.  Any tickets after that though I was the one shelling out the cash.

There were also adventures that I was able to go on b/c Dad made it possible for me to go.  I was able to go to the Holy Land one year with him and then a couple years later back again to the Holy Land and Egypt with him.  I am so grateful that I was able to experience these things at a young age.  He also made it a point that we go on a family vacation every year.  Since taking vacations with my family – I don’t see how he did it.  The cost of taking a road trip for a weekend even to Kentucky for us now is around $300.  We were able to visit Niagra Falls, Washington D.C., Gatlinburg, TN and many other sites that I remember.  He must have made some sacrifices to make memories for us.  I so appreciate it now!

Still at age 33 (soon to be 34) my dad still helps me along.  There are many times that he will take us to dinner or help fix something that needs fixed and Randy needed an extra hand and many other things that greatly help us out.  To know that my dad loves me and is still around to show me is the best feeling in the world. 

He is about to retire after 35 + years at General Motors (now Delphi) and I feel blessed to know that his perserverance has paid off.  They have provided him with a job that has allowed me to reap many blessings.  I thank my dad for sticking with it and although it probably was a struggle many days to go to work, He did it so that we could have the stability that we needed to grow up and venture out on our own.  Thanks Dad!  I love you!