I remember being a young girl and wondering what my dad was thinking. When I picked a daisy and thought about my dad, I always wanted to land on the right petal. I remember cheating if it didn't land on just the right one, to assure me of his love. He loved me, I knew it, but still, I always felt a little insecure.
As I grew older, I learned to look for his love in his actions, rather than his words. One thing that made me feel especially loved was warm lemon drops straight from his front pant pocket. The little flecks of lint didn't bother me a bit. I popped them in my mouth with pure joy, thinking....yep, he loves me.
Another thing that made me feel especially loved was trips to "the shop”. Dad worked for many years at the Ireton Farm Implement. That was his office, but our family called it "the shop”. If I close my eyes, I can still conjure up the smell of that place. It's some strange combination of farmers, metal, and peanuts from an old-fashioned nickel machine. For Dad, these extra trips back to the office on weeknights or Saturdays meant extended work hours, especially during planting and harvest. The black, rotary phone on the wall, made us jump when it rang loudly, during the Lord's Prayer which we prayed before every meal. Those farmers were always in need of another part for either their combine or tractor. It seemed like Mom was disappointed to hear that phone ring, but for me, if I was lucky, it meant a ride in the pickup truck. In the end, I bet Mom wasn't all that disappointed when Dad would agree to take me off her hands for a while.
Riding in the pickup wasn't the only treat- I went along enough times to know that peanuts and Coke from the bottle were often in store. Sometimes we would even put the peanuts into the Coke we were drinking from the bottle...funny we didn't choke and die, anyway, thanks, Dad, for all those trips to "the shop".
Dad really never came to my school, that was mom's job, and he was far too busy helping all those farmers. Oddly enough, one day I saw my dad peeking through the long window on the door of my kindergarten classroom. As he knocked my heart sank. What is he doing here? It was the middle of the morning after all! When the teacher came to my desk to excuse me, I gathered my things and put on my little red cardigan. Dad grabbed my hand in his and held it as we walked home. We lived just across the street from the school so it wasn't a long walk, but all these years later, I remember it as the sweetest walk ever. Grandma had died, and hearing that news made me sad. On the other hand, Daddy was holding my hand, which made my little heart glad. You see holding Daddy's hand was better than riding in the pickup truck, better than sharing peanuts and Coke, even better than lemon drop love.
I love you DAD! Thanks for all the ways you have shown me your love.