In The Atlantic Community
Father’s Day is next Sunday. I hope your dad is still living and that you can spend the day with him. If not, I hope you can reminisce with loved ones.
My dad teaches by example. He’s very hands-on. I’m not terribly bright when it comes to working with my hands. But I know a few things, and my scant knowledge comes from Dad.
Dad taught me to hand him tools when I was about four years old. He showed me the difference between a Phillips head screwdriver and a flat head. (“Look for the X on the top, Christy. That’s a Phillips head.”) He taught me to hold metal measuring tapes and never, ever touch the sides when he pressed the release button. (“It’ll slice your fingers!”)
Dad taught by example when it came to faith, too. Growing up I saw Dad read his Bible at the kitchen table or in his Lazy Boy every day. He also went to church and Sunday school every week. He wrote tithe checks and left them for Mom to grab before we raced out the door, typically running ten minutes late. I watched him pull on coveralls and go to a friend’s house to fix her frozen water pipes in the dead of winter. Dad still lives his faith.
He also taught me to love root beer milkshakes. My parents didn’t let me drink pop as a kid, but they’d usually spring for milkshakes. Root beer was, and is, my favorite. Let me tell you why.
When I was 14, my family drove to Austin, Texas, to visit cousins. I got to see the Alamo, ate alongside the San Antonio River, browsed in Austin’s artsy shops, and swam in Barton Springs Pool. It’s a gorgeous, but frigid, natural spring-fed pool. It’s bizarre when the air is 98 degrees and the water’s 68 degrees. Jumping into that pool surely gives you a jolt.
Anyway, after a long visit, we left around 4 a.m. and started driving home. We reached Memphis, Tennessee, around midnight. That’s how Dad drives – you go until you can’t go anymore. We stumbled into a room at a Motel 6 with our suitcases. We left souvenirs and other incidentals, including my sister’s denim purse, in the car.
Mom woke us up around 5 a.m. We staggered into the parking lot and looked around. No car. But we did see a pile of glittering glass. Our car had been stolen. We’re not sure, but we think the thief stole the car because of the purse in the back seat. Too bad for him. All it contained was some oversized souvenir coins from Texas.
Dad called all the rental car agencies in the Yellow Pages. They wouldn’t let us drive all the way home; we had to find a drop-off location. The closest drop-off spot we could get was in Columbus, Ohio. Dad rented a four-passenger car for the five of us, plus our miniature poodle, and drove to Columbus. My Grandma picked us up around 7 a.m. in the McDonald’s parking lot where we spent the night. I knelt on the floor and slept with my face on the car seat. Not the best night’s sleep I’ve had, I can tell you.
On our way home Dad stopped in Johnston, Ohio, and bought all six of us large root beer milkshakes. I don’t think anything ever tasted better in my life. I never think of root beer milkshakes without thinking of our stolen car and the ride home.
Have a wonderful week. Blessings!