My own father has been gone for twenty years. Now I'm the dad, and it amazes me that his words come out of my mouth.

 

In retrospect, my dad was a unique guy. He grew up here in the valley, probably without much money growing up. He didn't talk about it . He was an Eagle Scout, loved to fish, and would read anything he could get his hands on. He loved westerns. He graduated from Wapato High School and was set to attend what is now Perry Tech when his father died suddenly. Those plans went out the window as he had to support his mom. When World War II came along, he was deferred as the only son of a widowed mother. He farmed, worked in a sawmill and started a family. He found himself a single dad when my mother died when I was 14. He did the best he could.

Two years after he passed away, I flashed on what he really meant to me. I was single at the time, and was contemplating buying a new vehicle. I found myself reaching for the phone so I could "run it by the old man", only to catch myself realizing he wasn't going to be on the other end of the line.

Now I'm a father of three daughters and a son, and a foster dad to a little boy.  There will be a future post about dealing with teenage daughters.

If  I can pass on one thing to my kids that I learned from my dad, it has to be "think before you speak, think before you do."

I think that's pretty good advice for anyone.