Monday, May 26, 2008

Would You Let This Man Raise Your Children?

Well, you should!

This morning's missive is a love note to my dad. Today is his birthday and I am proud to call him my father! My siblings and I have all congregated on Dad and Flo's home in Kensington, Minnesota (why do all my friends from the UK snigger when I say the name of the town?) to celebrate his birthday.

Sure, there were times when he drove me absolutely nuts, but those days are long past. There always seemed to be some reason for me to be annoyed at him. He gave a picture of me (that I always hated because mom had dressed me like a total dork) to my uncle. That would have been bad enough, but my cousins still (to this day!) remind me of it as if any self-respecting seven-year-old would have chosen that hideous checkered coat and red bowtie as a fashion choice!

Then there was the time when he hit me in the head with the hammer. I was about five at the time. I still have the scar over my right eye; knitted into the eyebrow, it is barely visible… Okay, to be fair, it was almost entirely my fault. He was working on something, hammering nails into a piece of wood. I came up behind him, toddling on my little feet (barefoot, as we almost always were) and so he didn't know that I was leaning over his shoulder to see what he was working on.

On the next back swing – POW! I don't really remember the incident too well; I was really young, but that is what I remember about it.

But then there were all the wonderful times; the camping trips with the family and the boy scouts, the long drives across the country on vacations with the family, and the times he brought me with him to work.

Dad had the coolest office! It was in the middle of the railroad-switching yard! We had to drive past the strikers (The Florida East Coastline railway engineers were on strike for years, making it the most profitable railroad in the country for a while.) Not only could he see the trains from his office window all the time as they went through the yard, but he had this great office space heater, it was the headlight assembly from a locomotive.

Now if only I could get him to stop telling those really embarrassing stories about my childhood to my friends every chance he gets. How can I possibly remain a man of mystery if he keeps dusting off his hands and yanking all those skeletons out of the closet!?

Wherever you are today, call your dad, have a good chat about the old times!

Don Bergquist – May 26, 2008 – Kensington, Minnesota, USA

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