Remembering Dad On Father’s Day
I have such fond memories of my dad from when I was little. One of my earliest memories was when we were on a camping trip. There was a lake with a little swimming area and my father dedicated a good bit of time to blowing up an inflatable canoe for me to play in. I remember it clearly – it was yellow with “Indian” print around the sides.
Of course back then, you didn’t have the battery-operated air pumps – you had to do it with your own two lungs, and that he did. Then he held the canoe as I climbed in, let go, and I promptly fell right over into the water. The canoe was not balanced. It was, after all, just a toy. Apparently its maker hadn’t realized that 4-year-old little girls actually wanted to take the canoe into the water. But my dad didn’t let me down. He spent the next hour or more bent over, holding the canoe straight and pushing me around in the water. How his back must have ached by the end of the day!
Another great memory from when I was little, was while he was working in his basement workshop. My dad has always been handy with tools, and I have to admit that I was a tomboy from birth, so being around tools was always (and still is) pure bliss. My dad would be busy working on a project down there and I kept myself busy by hammering pieces of scrap wood together – it was important work testing all those nails!
As I got older I had more important jobs, like holding wood as he sawed it by hand, or handing him bricks as he finished off the wall in the den. One year a project that emerged from that workshop was a horse stable and fencing for my vast collection of Brenda Breyer horses. There were always neat things being built down there. To this day I still have my toy box that he made, a toy box that my own children have used over the years.
All through my childhood, I loved doing craft projects. Art was always my favorite class in school. I was a Girl Scout for years, and that gave me even more opportunities to be creative. Around the age that I was a Brownie, I remember making my dad a pencil holder for Father’s Day. It was made of a simple food canister, something like a cardboard beef jerky cylinder. We took vinyl stick-on paper and covered the outside with faux wood print and then wrote cute little messages “To: Dad” on the outside with permanent markers.
Another year, I remember using leather punch tools and making him a personalized key chain with his initials, and of course, horseshoe prints because surely my daddy had to love horses just as much as I did!
I’m not quite sure whatever happened to that key chain, it may have ended up in a desk drawer, tucked away somewhere. But that pencil holder? That pencil holder sat proudly on top of his dresser for my entire childhood. The day I left for basic training in the US Army, it was still sitting on his dresser. The ink had faded and the vinyl was peeling around the edges, but there it sat – a guardian of loose change and tie clips.
My own children have of course made little homemade gifts for their own dad over the years. Some of those gifts have gotten lost over the course of military moves, but we still have many of those homemade cards and little notes that were scratched in crayon onto construction paper. Priceless works of art if ever there were any.
I hope that someday down the road when they happen upon those treasured gifts, that it brings back fond memories for them as well of time spent with Dad. Then they can tell the stories to their own children. Stories that start with, “I remember when my dad…”
Constance J Smith is a professional blogger, recipe developer, and “seasoned” army wife. She has maintained an active website since 1998 and has been blogging since 2006. Anywhere Constance goes, she chronicles her journey with her readers – from creating family-friendly recipes to hiking in the wilderness of Alaska. Portions of her content have been published in local and national print.