Remember about a month and a half ago when I shared with you my new quest for health? Since that time the good old boy sentiment of “Bring it on” has somehow faded into a whisper, but my own voice saying “By the grace of God” has gotten louder, stronger - and much more sincere. One day at a time, one step at a time, I have now logged 44 miles of walking, and in the virtual world I am nearing Clayton, NM. I am also 24 pounds lighter! But perhaps the coolest part of this adventure is the fact that I have actually walked the design off the bottom of my tennis shoes…..that is a definite “first” for this Okie girl!
And it's not just me who is out there exercising. There are folks riding their bikes in the evenings, or jogging near the railroad tracks with their dog. There are kids strolling down East Main and mothers/daughters/kids walking on neighborhood streets. I say “Good going” to each of you.
Sunday was Father's Day, and I was a bit sad that day. Both my dad, Max, and my stepfather, Paul, have passed on to Heaven and I was feeling a void in my life. I was wishing I could celebrate the day with them, and it was only when I realized that I could still give them a gift - the gift of remembrance - that my sadness brightened. Both Daddy and Paul taught me many lessons by the way they lived their lives, more than by words or advice. They both showed me how to appreciate life, even when it isn't fair and even when it is filled with hardship and suffering. For thirty four years Daddy lived trapped in a body that couldn't move. But before that time, he was just a Dad, like so many of you have/had/are. He worked hard all day and came home to four rowdy kids in the evening. He endured his toenails being painted with crayons while he tried to relax in his recliner. He “walked” us to our bedroom on his feet (man, they sure did pop and crack) and made sure we said our prayers. He took us on camping trips to Cimarron Canyon and showed us how to set up a tent. He didn't yell often, and he was kind to me when I routinely woke him from his Sunday afternoon nap with questions about life or the telling of time. He taught me how to ride a bike and how to roller-skate. And most of all, Daddy taught me how to love someone unconditionally. Some people say he didn‘t have a life after his accident, but he did and he had a job, as well - teaching his children what was truly important in life and what was just fluff. He also showed us how wonderfully resilient the human spirit is - even in his condition he fought hard to live, he stayed interested in the world around him, he laughed, he cried, he loved us. He will always be my touchstone of life lived with humility, dignity and grace.
Then there was Paul, my stepfather. He unexpectedly walked into our family and blessed each of us with his kindness and acceptance. He never tried to “father” me, but was my friend instead. Paul taught me empathy, since he was always for the underdog or the downtrodden. He was a college professor and quirky at times, but he had a great sense of humor and was good at “smoke and mirrors” when it came to finding solutions to our farming mishaps and adding on to the house. He was generous with his money and his time, and he truly cared about Daddy. And Paul, in the last years of his life, deepened my sense of compassion, not only for dear old men with watery blue eyes, but also for those who have Alzheimer's and those who care for them.
So, if you are fortunate and have a father still living, don't wait for this particular day in June. Run to him now, this day, and wrap your arms around him. Tell him you love him and thank him for being your dad. And if your father is no longer alive, may you give him that special gift - the gift of remembrance. There is no day set aside for the giving of this gift and it takes no money, just time and love.
Boise City News