My Dad has been gone nearly two decades now, and yet, it feels as if he was here not long ago. I can still hear his voice. I can still see him clearly. There are times when I’m driving and think I should call him, and remember I can’t. His hat hangs on the shelf in my dining room. Reminders of him are often daily. I quote him all. the. time.
Over the weekend, I purchased a re-finished piece of old furniture. My friends know, just about every piece of furniture I own has come from somewhere else, and if you’ve ever sat at my kitchen table (which came from the side of the road), you’ve heard the stories about my kitchen tables, its not-so-matching chairs, my buffet from the Fisher Body mansion, the coffee table with the scripture on the bottom, the bed from the Memory Care facility, and so on, and so on, and so on…
Scoring a dresser that I’d pictured in my head for three decades on Sunday was so exciting, especially because I currently have three small dressers in my room, and none of them match! One was found on the side of the road by my grandmother (and it’s falling apart), the other was refinished by me in my garage when I lived in California in 1990 and was pregnant with my daughter, and the third was my childhood dresser that sat beside my bed.
I gifted my friend who likes to refinish furniture with the piece I’d done in my garage 33 years ago, and decided to carry the smaller childhood one down to the basement. When I removed the drawers to make my trips lighter, I was halfway down the stairs when I couldn’t help but notice how my Dad had fixed it when it had begun to fall apart. The bottom drawer needed a piece of wood, and he used an old ruler he’d saved from the local hardware store called “Kopecky’s” and the phone number was still on the ruler too! Nothing went to waste. Nothing.
My parents were frugal. They taught us how to live within our means and be happy. They told us “no” all year over frivolous, meaningless things that we thought we needed to do or have in the moment, just so that when the once yearly St. Roberts fair came to town in September, they could tell us yes, yes, and yes. And they saved every single dime they could, and my dad picked up every extra shift he could, just so we could enjoy our summers in Nova Scotia doing the meaningful, memory-worthy things. “Stuff” wasn’t important; family was, and my Dad made darn sure we got there, by doing little things – like using rulers to fix broken dressers.
Dad’s gone, and I miss him everyday. But I watched him live, and I listened to his wisdom, and I’m so grateful for the sweet reminder today of what a darling Dad he was to us. It once was said that he could charm anyone within 100 feet of him.
It couldn’t have been truer, or better said.
“Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Proverbs 21:20