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A Tribute to my dad

Updated: May 25

My dad was born on May 23, 1920, so today would make him 100 years old!

It's been almost 15 years since my dad passed on, but he lives on in spirit in many ways. You see, the bottom line is that I had a super cool dad! I was truly blessed as he gave me so many valuable things that will carry me through for the rest of my life.

My dad encouraged me to be curious and interested in all kinds of things. My hobbies include sailing, hiking, bicycling, photography, gardening, reading, etc. As a kid, I raised goats for a while, and that taught me many engaging lessons. Goats made great pets, but there were specific details necessary for proper care of these animals. Rhododendron leaves are poisonous to a goat, so when the goat started eating them, I had to chase her down and pull the leaves out of her mouth. Also, goats will indeed eat anything. I guess with four stomachs that opens up a whole slew of possibilities. When my clarinet teacher decided to see if my goat would eat a $5 bill, I was the one pulling the money out before my goat swallowed it!

My dad and I enjoyed many activities together. One of the most interesting was beekeeping. We took a class together at the cooperative extension and learned the basics, then put together a hive and ordered some bees delivered by USPS.

Beekeeping is an unusual activity as it provides you with an opportunity to peer into this highly social insects' life and see how they interact. Sometimes the interactions can lead to some pain and swelling, but most of the time, we were observers of these fantastic creatures. We once got some bees mad at us because we did not use the "bee brush" correctly. The sting that made my eye swollen shut ensured that I did not forget that lesson.

For a while, I even kept a beehive on top of my dresser. It was a 1 1/2 frame observation hive with glass so you could see everything inside. My dad drilled a hole through the wall, and we had a plastic tube so the bees could get in and out to collect pollen and nectar as they would do in a regular-sized hive.

My dad enjoyed problem-solving, and we did a lot of it! We were always taking things apart and fixing them. Many new items are challenging to repair. However, one would be surprised at how many items can be repaired instead of throwing them away. My dad instilled in me the motivation to attempt repairs on a multitude of things! To this day, one of my biggest joys is to figure out how to fix things. I am always tinkering with something, and I would say my success rate is over 99%! I have learned that it is vital to have a few failures to stay humble.

My dad was not perfect, but I don't think anyone is. I believe that he always did the best he could, and he was very humble. My dad had a kind heart and went out of his way to do thoughtful things for people.

Whether it was intentional or not, I now realize the value of doing so many activities as a child and observing how my dad interacted with and treated other people. I have experienced so many different situations that require a strategy or solution to a problem. These skills I developed have become valuable in ways that I could not have imagined as a child.

No matter where we are, life will provide us with challenges and problems to solve. I have been in situations on mountains where my ability to think clearly and come up with an immediate solution was life or death. The ability to think and reason while in a strange city halfway across the globe comes in very handy. I genuinely believe that the activities I did as a child were instrumental in providing me with a great base and the ability to analyze a situation properly to come up with an appropriate solution.

Today, on what would have been my dad's 100th birthday, I celebrate the training he gave me! I will always remember my dad and all the activities we did together. From the mundane cup of coffee and bran muffin at the Stoughton Diner to the heavy seas 15-20 foot waves deep sea fishing trip, it was all an adventure! We sure had a lot of fun and so many memories to last a lifetime!


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© 2018 by Alan D Cline