Time with Dad

I was fortunate enough to have a dad that accommodated me in just about everything he did or I did. Having a dad that wanted to be so involved in my life and who wanted to teach me things that a mom doesn’t know as much about was the best way to grow up, as well as the best way to gain confidence in being a girl.

Hanging out in my dad’s shop was a favorite way to spend my time because it was fun helping him. I usually found something fascinating while there and liked getting dirty as a kid. He’d show me what he was working on and explain what he was doing, and sometimes he’d line me out to help him, but it was the stories he told while we worked together that I loved the best. Sometimes he couldn’t help from laughing while he was telling me a story and that was my favorite way to hear them.

There were times he’d say, “Why don’t you go pedal your papers,” or, “Go fly a kite for a while, would ya?” I must’ve been annoying at times because years later, I realized it was his polite way of telling me to find something else to do for a while because he was busy. Overall, he was pretty good about letting me hang out with him…as long as I put his stuff back!

Getting to shoot .22’s was an activity my brothers and I looked forward to doing with our dad a lot as kids. Sometimes he’d buy us each a brick of .22 shells, which was a favorite surprise from him because he rarely did any gift shopping. It was a fun way to spend time with our dad and he seemed to enjoy it just as much because we went through a lot of .22 shells.

One of my favorite memories with my dad was getting to go with him in the logging truck to haul logs in the summertime. He’d let me set in his lap and operate the loader, loading logs onto the truck. Oftentimes he’d treat me to an ice cream bar or a pop and a candy bar. That was always a indulgence, since my mom usually didn’t get that kind of stuff for us kids.

For my 8th birthday, my dad took me on a fishing trip with another father and his boys who were about my age. I remember thinking how much fun it was getting to spend time camping and fishing with my dad and not having my brothers along. I had been struggling with math in school, and on the way down to our camping spot he played a math game with me to help me get faster with my math facts.

Since I was the oldest, he took me hunting around the Black Hills and on deer or pheasant hunting trips back to the farm in Lyman County. Those were times that always felt like a special privilege whenever it was just us.

Sometimes when I got frustrated or worried about getting into trouble, especially in high school I would start to cry. I hated the thought of disappointing my dad. As I’d talk, he’d grin, then say “C’here,” and give me a supportive hug and start to laugh over what probably looked like drama to him, making me realize I was stressing over little stuff.

In my twenties, I was convinced I had my dad’s genetics for upper body strength. I was one of the few females who worked in the woods and ran a chainsaw with crews of mostly men when I worked for the Forest Service. Back then, I had what I called “man arms” from packing a chainsaw everyday. Running a saw was something my dad did well, and loved the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

My dad was a far better instructor on gun safety than the instructors teaching the hunter’s safety course I took. He drilled his safety rules into my head and went over the same important safety issues every time we were around the guns.

I’ve always felt lucky that I grew up with a dad who introduced me to a man’s world in a way that I was able to understand. I’ve often thought that learning from a male’s perspective helped me become a more objective and well-rounded woman (and helped me snag a good husband).

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