Happy Father’s Day, RollerDad

I have certain traits that I don’t have to think very hard to figure out where they came from. In many ways, I am my dad in female form.This is not surprising; until my tumultuous teenage years I was my dad’s shadow. I would watch him carving ducks in his wood shop, happy to go retrieve the dead mallard from the freezer when asked. I was reasonably competent with power tools for all of my overachieving art projects. He would let me sit on his lap and drive the big blue GMC around the prairies when I was merely 8 years old (or maybe it was the red Dodge by then?). We went for family bike rides in the prairies and hikes into the coulees and we would stop along the way to check everything out.  Our annual family vacations were just roaming with only a final destination in mind; stopping along the way to see anything that interested us. Saturdays were for mowing my grandma’s lawn, and Sundays were for going; anywhere and everywhere. Even in our small prairie town, I grew up as cultured as we could manage because my dad challenged me to try new foods and see new things wherever we went. And oh my god, we had to watch so much PBS.

Because of him I had a free childhood, and I learned to explore. This is probably the best gift that I have from my dad, although my power washer was a close second.

About a year ago my dad sent me copies of slides from the 70′s that he had scanned and I laughed and laughed when I realized how much of my dad I have become.

Image

My Dad, sometime in the late 70′s

Me in 2011

Me in 2011

That fierce, get’er done, explore everything, be afraid of nothing, kind of guy that he is. And I love that he now passes this on to my kids, and reminds me to do the same even when I want to wrap them up in bubble wrap. I think he would have been a natural raising boys, but I think I did my best despite being a girl.

A family that drinks together has a very expensive wedding. Paid for by my dad.

A family that drinks together has a very expensive wedding. Paid for by my dad.

Now, life is not without it’s challenges being raised by your exact personality match, but I am very glad now to have a dad that will bravely go approach a beehive with a screwdriver at midnight after I have wussed out and gotten stung three times already. In his shirtsleeves. Thanks for taking one for the team, Dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

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19 comments

  1. What an excellent tribute to RollerDad. I love how you said “I am my dad in female form.” In a lot of ways, I’m my dad in female form too. His encouraging you to learn and explore is an amazing gift, and one that a lot of parents don’t give to their kids. The fact that our dads taught their girls this stuff makes us really lucky.

    1. Yes, my dad never let my gender be a limitation for me, which is also a gift in and of itself. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dads allowing their girly girls to be girly girls, but I am glad that my dad sensed that I wasn’t one of those and encouraged me to be myself. At least that’s what I think he was doing. I am sure he’ll reeducate me on the subject at dinner tonight.

  2. Jen, this was such a great post. You look like your Dad and I hope you and your Daddy have a wonderful Father’s Day together. My Dad could paint and/or make anything! And I do mean anything plus he taught me how to drive when I was about 12, so I pride myself on being an excellent driver. He loved rock and roll too. Anyway, loved the pics of you and your Dad and I agree with Weebs, this is such a lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing!

    1. If only he was willing, he’d have an interesting blog all on his own. After all, he spent most of his youth shooting gophers in the coulee near his house and his annual guys’ trip was organizing rafts to float down the river for 3 days with tables made of beer.

  3. Great read. I like how RollerDad was thinking in the first picture, now I’m hungry though.
    I never did go out drinking with my dad that much (I always preferred to stay home anyway) but during the times that we did the bartender would always comment about how similar our mannerisms and general “bar sitting stances” were. I never thought so…but it’s neat to see the stuff we pick up along the way. Happy Father’s Day RollerDad!

    1. Yeah! I remember one other time out on the coast we set crab traps and ate so much crab I could hardly move. I would love to do that again. Right now actually. BUTTER.
      And it is funny how you pick up stuff from your parents totally unconsciously. On my kids birthday someone took a photo of me serving cake and I had to do a double take because it looked just like my mom at that age, serving cake to me. So weird.

    1. I love pressure washing so much. Like, I can’t even tell you how satisfying it is. Unfortunately my pressure washer froze in the great flood of yesteryear and now I am without a pressure washer again. But one day.. one day I will be happy again.

  4. So THAT’S what you’re holding in that photo, Jen. I never saw the crab until now! Great tribute to your dad. I suspect it’s okay now to be so much like him, but annoying as hell when you were a teenager.

    1. Yes, the teenage years were not fun ones, but I think we’ve achieved some sort of stasis now. I found that crab on a beach right outside of San Francisco on our way back from Monterey Jazz Festival a few years ago.. although he probably got eaten by something mere moments after we drove away, I still have a fond place in my heart for him! (or her.. it’s hard to tell with crabs)

  5. I love that you have somehow managed to turn into your dad without realizing it. I have too! The older I get, the more I realize I am my father’s daughter.

    Love the crab pictures, so funny.

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