Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Dad and Family: 25 Days Left in Malmo, Sweden Before Summer in Idaho, USA
I might as well start with my family. Above is a photo of my family at my Grandparents' most recent anniversary--70 years. You can see them in the front with me, my son and my cousin. A few important family members are missing (including my husband and oldest daughter), but my family is a blessing to me. It would take me hours to tell you about each one and what he or she means to me--what special moments we have shared--so I won't attempt it for now.
It is a blessing to have grandparents who consider the covenant of marriage so valuable that they are still married, even though Grandmother has suffered severe memory loss for quite a few years, now.
I'm grateful my parents value marriage, too. They will be married 48 years next month!
Today, I would like to highlight my Dad.
Last week, my Father got older (catching up with my mother). It used to be that I had to keep track of my dad's age for him because he could never remember. But I've caught the disease of forgetfulness such that he got older than I expected while I have been exploring Northern Europe. It hit me just today how much I value him and how much more I hope to learn from him before he gets too old to teach me (or I become too forgetful to be taught!).
Dad is the one in the center above my grandmother. People know him as a faithful pastor, teacher and counselor, committed to Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Church of the Nazarene. He stands in the picture next to his brother and wife, my mother, and his parents, who have all supported him, kept him in check, teased him, and even worked with him in the church. I can't imagine life without the Hunter family as well as my mother's family, the Browns!
Dad makes me happy (most times--he can make me really angry, too). I cut my teeth on his preaching, learning a great deal from his insights and love of Scripture. As a young girl, I learned to read, standing beside him during morning devotions, while he pointed out the words he read from the Bible. Call me spoiled, because such training taught me to love words and great literature--to seek out the truth in what is read.
Dad was the one to help me learn to ride a bike, his old vespa, built my brother a lawn-mower-engine go cart, and make sure we had the best sled run for Christmas (as long as it wasn't where he needed to drive). He worked my brother and I hard, expected us to work beside him at home and at church, then played hard with us when he was "on vacation."
Some may know Dad to be the tinker he is. That is not a typo,--though he is also a great thinker--he loves to tinker with mechanical things, especially old Ford's and Chevy's. When I was a senior in high school, he helped me tear apart and put back together a beautiful old Chevy truck. In the end, I couldn't reach the pedals to double clutch and see out the windshield at the same time, but it sure was an education and a bonding between my dad, my brother and me! Almost as long as I can remember, Dad has used his day off--the day after Sunday--to work on cars or some other mechanical thing.
Some others may know my dad is a small aircraft pilot (I'm aware that my Grandfather and Uncle have been all or most of these things, too, but I'm highlighting my dad). We spent many hours back and forth between Grand Coulee and Spokane, Washington, so I could get adjustments on my braces and he could attend meetings. I had motion sickness so badly that I memorized or quoted scripture for quizzing just to keep my mind off of the turbulance. We also had our birds and bees conversation up there. Not sure I heard everything perfectly over the roar of the propeller and the noise of the radio, but I was proud of Dad for attempting the conversation even if he needed it to be couched in so much noise.
One of my favorite things to do is get my dad all to myself so we can talk about our lives, our work, our faults, our ideas and insights. I love how he sometimes opens up to me about himself and becomes a person just like me. Sometimes he is so insightful, so intelligent and so belligerent (Wait! Did I say that?), that I tend to put him in a different category than human like me. But when we get some one on one time, he shares his heart with me and I feel honored all the more to be his daughter and friend.
We asked Dad to come visit us in Sweden, along with my brother, last year about this time. We wore him out walking him around some of our favorite sights, had him busy repairing things around the house, and made him teach a seminar and do a radio program. It was fun to share my dad with my friends overseas.
Just the other day, Dad told me he was putting a different engine in our old lawn mower so it would be usable when we got back home. Good ol' dad. That really is the way to put it. He still has so many things to do that I feel it a privilege that he shows me he loves me the ways he does.
When I was younger, I asked Dad why he didn't say, "I love you." He still doesn't. He said, "I put a roof over your head, pay the dentist bill, pay for groceries and you'll just have to accept the way I say 'I love you.'" It kind of bugged me that he said it that way, but it doesn't take a psychologist to see that he sure does show it to us kids and our children. His 'I love you's' happen most often in the garage, under the hood of one of our limping vehicles. If you stand out there and watch, he'll hand you a wrench or a flashlight and some great learning and conversation happens out there.
Then the phone will ring and he'll be counseling, or hurrying off to see someone at the hospital, or he'll need to read several papers from the on-line classes he teaches. Then Mom gets to visit us in the house without any interruptions or competition. (smile)
So, Happy Birthday, Dad. Have many more birthdays. Happy Father's Day while I'm at it. You taught me well--no use wasting all those sentimental words all over the calendar!
Mom, you'll be featured, too, but you never know when!