A lawnmower tire & tribute to Dad

And only with my dad would it be possible to tie those two things together.

I'll admit, it's a little bit of a stretch.

You see, "repair or replace the tire on our riding mower" is item #12 on my infamous list.  After my dad tried helping me "repair" it with fix-a-flat back in April and that didn't work, we opted to just go buy a dang tire for the thing. 

The riding mower is a hand-me-down from my in-laws and I am so grateful for it, lest it sound like I am complaining.  But... the riding mower has been a thorn in my side for about a year now.  The back right tire wouldn't hold air.  The battery wouldn't hold a charge.  So, getting the thing started took longer than it did to mow the entire backyard.   The ordeal began with hauling the gigantic, bulky, and a little bit heavy air compressor from the garage to the shed in our backyard so I could pump up the tire.  I had to do that in order to be able to push the lawnmower up to the side of the house where I could jump it off with either our car or with our new battery charger.  By the time I got it started, whomever was napping had undoubtedly woken up, and all I'd accomplished was getting it started and (if I was lucky) one or two laps around the yard.

My ears are turning red just thinking about it.

I'm happy to say that the battery has been reconditioned and the tire has been replaced. It now rests happily in our little shed (amidst lots of little tree frogs that my eldest so enjoys catching) just waiting for it's next jaunt around the old yard.

It might seem untimely that I chose to chronicle this as part of a tribute to my dad.  In fact, it might be a little.  But, strange as it may sound, the lawnmower fiasco reminds me of him.

For the first 16 or so years of my life, my dad used a push mower that was in disrepair, not unlike my present riding mower.  It was a yellow thing, smeared with oil, held together by pieces of electrical tape and duct tape.  Just like most things in our house, there were tricks to getting it to work right.  If you held your face just so, stood on your head, and clapped (for example), Old Yellow might start on the sixth or seventh try.  My earliest memories of him involve sitting by his side, handing him various tools as he fixed our ancient station wagon or devised some way to lock the outside attic door from the inside of our pantry using nothing but wire and a big bolt.  Macgyver has nothing on him.

That's just how my dad is.  He's a no-frills kind of guy.  He's about function, not fancy.  Long before Larry the Cable Guy coined the phrase, he was the embodiment of Git 'Er Done.

He is most likely the reason I'm a no-frills kind of girl.

That's not the only attribute I owe to him, surely.  There's the love of crossword puzzles and other brain teasers, the appreciation for musical theater, the dent on the top of my right earlobe, and the very fact that my ears turn red when I'm stressed out or angry.  There's the preference for any and all breakfast meats, the square shoulders, and those quirky behaviors like looking for patterns in obviously random locations.

My dad always has been and always will be my greatest role model.  He's one of those unique people who possesses both book smarts and common sense.  He is the living example of so very many admirable traits that seem rare at best these days.  In the interest of brevity, I will now defer to list format (because I can't write a single blog post without doing that, apparently).

Lessons I've Learned from my Dad:
  • Bring your family up in church.  The Bible is not wrong when it says, "Train up a child the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
  • Don't buy anything you can't pay cash for.  (Sounds a lot like Dave Ramsey, huh?)
  • Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  (I don't know anyone with a stronger work ethic than my dad.)
  • It is okay to shed tears.  He doesn't do it often, but it always moves me when he does.  Seeing a big burly man like him with tears in his eyes is a healthy reminder to me that it's okay to cry.
  • It's even better to laugh.  My dad's favorite mediums for laughter are old sitcoms (Cheers, Seinfeld, and Wings) and "stupid" comedies (Dumb & Dumber, Airplane, and Hot Shots)
  • Confrontation is a last resort.  (So maybe this isn't ideal, but it's how he does, and in turn, how I do.  This is probably how we have both achieved "doormat" status.) 
  • If you can help others, you should.  My father is the most generous man I know and gives his time, resources, and talents to just about anyone who asks of him (and also to those who don't).  
  • Marriage is sacred.  And marriage is teamwork.  My parents will celebrate their 29th  anniversary this December.  I never once remember them arguing or discussing finances in front of my sister and me, and I know that's not because those things didn't happen.
And truthfully, that barely scratches the surface. 

I am blessed to be able to call this man "Dad".  I'm thrilled to see him truly relaxed, reveling in the retired life, and enjoying his grandchildren.

I have a feeling there are many, many others who have been blessed by knowing him. I hope, someday, people will say the same about me, and if I aspire to live like him, I know they will.

This concludes my day-late Father's Day post.  It's only fair since my Mother's Day post was a day late too.  I hope that everyone cherished their fathers & husbands-turned-fathers.  For those of you whose fathers are no longer with us, I shed a tear with you yesterday as well.

And, of course...

Happy Summer!

(From Central Georgia...
where we all know "summer" starts sometime around the end of April.)


Debbie said...

What a great post! Reading this, I can tell that your dad and that man I married are very much alike, right down to the rickety old push mower and the TV show CHEERS. I know that I would like him very much.

You are blessed with wonderful parents, Jennie. It shows in you, too.

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