Anne Palumbo: The greatest Father’s Day gift of all
Although my dad has been gone for two years now, I still think about him every day. Usually, something small triggers a memory and I find myself smiling.
Because he lived a long and productive life, I am not overwhelmed with sadness when I reflect. What makes me a little sad, however, is the realization that I never thanked him enough along the way.
A master craftsman and home-repair guru, he taught me a lot about tools, despite my gender. Thanks to Dad, I can sling a staple gun with the best of them. I also know my way around a table saw and am no namby-pamby when it comes to mitering a joint.
These days, whenever my kids and I embark on a DIY project — whether it’s installing shelves using drywall anchors or replacing a ripped screen door — I think of Dad and appreciate the confidence he instilled.
My dad got a huge kick out of growing his own vegetables, and passed that kick along to me. Of course, with that “kick” came all sorts of valuable advice: plant basil next to tomatoes to repel bugs; surround garden perimeter with marigolds to discourage deer; put beer in shallow pans to kill slugs; and so on. When I put in my garden this year, I will feel Dad’s presence in every decision I make.
Having grown up during the Great Depression, my dad was unabashedly frugal and resourceful. “Why buy something when you can make it yourself?” was his lifelong chant. That said, he made everything from bird suet to red wine, pickles to peanut butter.
I, too, like to make things — Irish stout, anyone? How about some mustard? — and grasp that it’s Dad’s doing. While my underlying motivation for taking the homemade highway may be different, the end result is undeniably the same: I feel triumphant for doing it myself!
He revered self-reliance and frowned upon using outside help for most of his life.
With a how-to book in one hand and a steely determination in the other, he taught himself how to wire a room, replace a toilet, build a deck and more.
While I am more comfortable hiring outside help for projects out of my range, I refuse to hire out the simple jobs, and thank Dad for that stance. Just this month, I replaced a toilet flapper, unclogged a sink drain and patched a huge hole in a wall.
Toward the end of Dad’s life, I thanked him profusely for all that he taught me and for the DIY-curiosity he inspired. I just wish I had made the effort sooner.
My message to you this Father’s Day? In lieu of a store-bought gift, show dad your gratitude, now, while he is still fully present, with a heartfelt hug and a sincere “thanks.”
Anne Palumbo writes for Messenger Post Media. Email her at email@example.com.