Friday, June 9, 2017

It's the Little Things

I was five. We're learning to write my name.
I'm beginning to remember things Dad taught me, big and small. I guess when you're trying to get yourself back, stuff will come up.

Today I watched a man filling his tires at the gas station. He kept filling his tire, looking at it, trying to feel it. Filling it a little more, filling it a little bit again. Where's your tire gauge? Why don't you know to use one?

When I got my first car, Dad bought me a tire gauge. He explained what PSI meant, and where I would find the information I needed for my specific tires. He taught me how to read the gauge, and check my treads.  Thanks for that, Daddy, It's come in handy.

Other useful things Dad taught me:

How to skate: I was five when dad whooshed up to me on his Bauers and asked, "What's wrong, Princess?" I wailed-- "Daddy, I can't skate!"  He showed me it's not like walking...more like gliding. He demonstrated how to use feet and leg muscles to push outward and propel myself forward. I remembered yelling "Daddy, I'm skating!" Important? Maybe not, but it's the first thing I remember him teaching me.

When in doubt, grow tomatoes: I learned of an acquaintance who committed suicide. Mom sent me out to hang with Dad, who was in the garden. He saw my tears and kept me distracted by teaching me everything he knew about tending to healthy tomato plants. To this day, tomatoes are my favorite thing to grow, eat and can.

How to fly: Dad loved his Cessna 177 Cardinal, maybe as much as he loved his kids. He REALLY loved to fly, and he shared that gift enthusiastically. Everything I know about aviation, I learned from him. He made sure we knew how to control AND  land the plane just in case something happened to him in the air. So in case of emergency, I have the confidence to get a single engine aircraft safely to the ground.

He shared interesting books: 1. The Wealthy Barber-Dad felt I should learn things about investing that have stuck with me to this day. 2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet-Dad was very much affected by the novel, walking around sad and hungry even days after he finished it. It taught me empathy and when I think about my own writing--I remember the depressing details that made Pillars such a work of art. 3. Holographic Universe-It's a valuable read about the mechanics of reincarnation. I didn't consider myself bright enough to understand metaphysics, yet I absorbed all of it.

The lawnmower: When I bought my house, he bought us a lawnmower as a housewarming gift. He wouldn't allow me to choose the cheapest one. He also taught me how to check the oil and the absolute importance of it. I always think of him every time I mow the lawn. We still have that mower and it's been 13 years.

Honesty: My father was a contractor--an instrument mechanic in the oilfield. He remained so for twenty-two years, and retired on his own terms. He was successful because he was a good worker and an honest business man. He was trusted. We've taken that lesson to heart, and that is why we are rarely unemployed for long.

Take Risks: Dad was fearless. He drove from Manitoba to Alberta to look for work and went from there. My father took electronics  at NAIT but jumped at the chance to become a pioneer in the field of instrumentation. Then he challenged the exam for his ticket. My father took a job in a new town and moved his family there before we'd found a house to rent. My father used my college fund to start his contracting business. It all worked.

This is my first stepping stone to becoming myself again. If you have memories of things you've learned from your parents and taken comfort in, it would be my pleasure to know of them.


  1. Donna, you had me in tears even before I reached the instrument mechanic part. My dad was a class one journeyman instrument mechanic. He died thirty-nine years ago, but every day something reminds me of him. *big hugs* Stay strong. Your memories will sustain you.

    1. Class A. Duh. It has been decades.

    2. YOUR father was an instrument mechanic too?! So you know what challenges they faced! The smell of diesel...that on e always gets me. The SOUND of a diesel truck. They remind me.

    3. He worked for companies like Alcan, Celgar, and Lornex, repairing and maintaining instrumentation. He was also an avid CBer and ham operator as well as a founding member of the Lions Club in the community where he passed away. No diesel, but until he became an ex-smoker, I remember the smell of nicotine on his fingertips.

    4. Awesome. Thanks for sharing this <3