I just talked to my dad on the phone. I will be going up to Adams Center, New York, to visit his wife and him over the July 4th week. I am looking forward to it. Then have a neat old house with a creek in the back woods. They plant an awesome garden every year, so there will be lots of fresh vegetables to eat.
The last time that we were up there I disclosed to him that when I was a little girl I stoutly believed that my father would be President some day, it was only a matter of time. I just thought that my Dad was such an amazing and incredible person that he would be leader of the nation, at some point in the future. When I told him this last summer he got a good chuckle out of my childhood belief...I don't remember ever proclaiming this out loud as a little girl, so it was news to him. I called him Mr. President for the rest of the visit, which he loved.
But my dad was (and is still!) an amazing and incredible person….he never became rose to any sort of political power (how was I suppose to know that you have to actually be interested in politics and government to be a leader of a nation?), but he definitely had leadership abilities as a father.
I can remember him teaching me how to drive…we had an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon, which was designed with a peak in the middle of the hood. His advise on how to stay on the road and in my lane? "Just aim the middle of the hood with the outer side of the road, and go for it!" Sort of great advise for a life's journey as well!
One time when I was in the 10th grade at Sarasota High School, I was suppose to go to a football game with a couple of my Mennonite classmates/friends. They never showed up, never called. I was deeply hurt and bewildered. It was to be the first game that I was to go to at this public school, and I was looking forward to it. One of the guys who carried a torch for me wanted me to attend to watch him play, and I had promised that I would. My dad saved the night……he took me to the game himself! I have never forgotten that, it showed me that my Dad cared for and loved me. He taught me that you don't let a bad situation, and rotten people, ruin the night! Another life lesson…..
One of my dearest memories took place in our swimming pool at our home on Arden Drive. I was upset because my parents would not let me attend the art school of my choice, because we were Mennonite, and that meant a Mennonite college. Yes, I know…several therapists pointed out later in my life that this decision of my parents showed that they did not nurture my dream to be an artist. How could they? They only knew the Mennonite world, and had no experience with outside educational institutes, nor any trust in them. In their eyes to let me leave the Mennonite world was an unknown experience, and would lead to all sorts of bad things. Not that a student couldn't find those things at a religious institute, but the Menno world is/was tight, and news could travel at lightening speed along the Mennonite grapevine.
Okay. so one day I was in the pool with my dad, and declared to him that he just didn't want me to be an artist. I remember that it was quiet for a moment or two, and then he said gently, "All I want is for you to be happy, Robin." I didn't really believe him at the time, but they were at least words that I held onto throughout my future life, and still have in my heart as proof that my dad loved and cared for me, and wanted the very best for me….happiness!
Happy Fathers Day to all the dads of the world, and especially mine, Mr. President!