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A FATHER’S DAY TRIBUTE
ON MY DAD, BEING A DAD, AND SEEING MY SON BECOME A DAD!
One of the characteristics I remember most about my dad was his impeccable green thumb. Born in 1935, my dad, Galen, grew up learning how to be the best, hardest-working farmer in all of Ohio. Even now, I’m fairly positive that title still belongs to him. I spent the bulk of my childhood years following in his footsteps. I learned how to garden and operate farm equipment but, most importantly, I learned the value of a strong work ethic. His approach to work resembled his approach to raising children. He could snap his finger or look at you a certain way, and you immediately knew what he was asking of you. He was strict, but he wasn’t mean. When my dad wasn’t toiling away at home, he worked in a factory in town. For a couple of summers during my teenage years, I joined him there and completely hated it. When I told my dad, he gave me some advice that I remember often: “If you take an interest in your work, your work will take an interest in you.” It’s a phrase that helped me learn how to find joy in the task I’m completing no matter how much I dislike it. When I was 21, my father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. Since my mom had passed away when I was 12, I already knew the importance of appreciating my parents
— something that a lot of people forget to acknowledge. After my dad passed, I very much missed having someone there to help me make decisions and be on my side. So when I had kids of my own, I wanted to make sure I could do for them what my dad could no longer do for me. My firstborn, Ashlee, made the parenting process all too easy. She was virtually the perfect child and never gave her mom or me any trouble at all. Wes was something else entirely. When I was younger, my mom always said, “I hope you have a son just as ornery as you when you’re older.” She cursed me! While Wes pushed the envelope whenever he could, he was still a good kid. He was funny, too. I remember several moments when, after he’d get himself into trouble and I’d go to discipline him, he’d do or say something to crack me up, and I’d forget why I was even upset with him in the first place. As my kids have grown to become adults themselves, we’ve managed to develop great friendships with one another. Wes started working with me when he was 20, so our relationship has become extremely nuanced. We are father/son business partners, which wouldn’t work for a lot of other families, but Wes and I have made it work. If one of us wins, we both win.
While being a dad is one of my favorite experiences, being a grandfather takes a close second. I’m so fascinated by the next generation. I’ve always been amazed at what Ashlee and Wes could accomplish, but the capabilities and intellect of my grandkids Ethan (8) and Annie (6) are phenomenal. Ethan can put together the most complicated of Lego sets, ones that I can’t even begin to understand, while Annie constantly improves upon her sports and piano playing abilities. I’m sure that my future grandson Noah (Wes and his beautiful wife, Rachel’s, baby) will be just as adept. I know I’m not the only one holding my breath to meet him! To my dad, Wes, Ashlee’s husband, and all the other hardworking dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!
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