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franklin county times

Appreciating dad more than ever

By Staff
Last Sunday I drove home to Athens for a Father's Day cookout at my parent's house.
After we finished eating grilled hamburgers and homemade fixings, my younger sister Christina scored a slam dunk with our dad thanks to a Lowe's gift card tucked inside a card decorated in crayon by her 3-year-old son.
But of course Father's Day isn't really about presents.
My dad has always seemed unique, partly because he doesn't hunt, golf, fish or follow sports and partly because he's a generation older than most of my friends' fathers.
He has a green footlocker filled with an extensive stamp collection and military medals, but as a kid, I don't remember hearing war stories from his time in Vietnam as a Huey Medevac pilot, or seeing him spending time on hobbies, other than reading Louis L'Amour novels and investment books.
As a teenager I thought my dad was the world's slowest driver, but now that I've driven for 10 years and paid for too many speeding tickets, I can appreciate his cautious approach to driving.
It's hard to argue with someone who hasn't been in a serious accident in over 50 years of driving in places as rural as Limestone County and as harrowing as Washington, D.C.
I've always admired my father's work ethic and ability to work from sunrise to sunset.
After serving 20 years in the Marines, he worked 22 more years as a systems analyst and commuted over an hour each day from Huntsville because my parents wanted Christina and I to grow up on a farm and attend a down-to-earth county school.
Before going to work, he would feed and water livestock and then do the same after he came home, usually after dark. On weekends, Dad didn't take out his shotgun or fishing rod and he didn't play a round of golf, go to the movies or watch a football game. Instead, he worked on our family vehicles or his old Ford tractor, bush-hogged the yard and pastures, built and repaired fence lines and tended to the cattle herd.
There was a time when I didn't understand why Dad would talk to me about setting goals, saving for retirement, eating plenty of vitamins and checking my car oil on a regular basis.
It's taken 26 years, but I get it now, especially the part about money not growing on trees.

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