Hi Dr. Laura,
I had the chance to speak with you recently about a gift I had received and how I was reluctant to accept it. Your advice was to return it. I will be doing that.
You also said my dad would be proud of me for my actions. Thank you. I thought I would take a moment and share something I wrote for my dad. I was able to give this to him shortly before his passing when he was still well enough to take it all in.
The Green Tricycle
I do not remember exactly how old I was, maybe 4 or 5, but it was my birthday and Dad had gone to great lengths to resurrect a tricycle for me. From what I have been told it was in pretty sorry shape when he got it. I know he spent quite a bit of time cleaning it up. Sanding and scraping paint and rust from the tiny frame, and then carefully covering it in a shinning coat of green paint. When he presented the tricycle to me, I looked it over and made it clear to Dad I did not like the color. I would have much preferred red. I am not sure I recall the look on his face but I know he was disappointed, although he did not make a big deal of it and I learned to enjoy my green tricycle.
I often think of the green tricycle now that many years have passed and another chapter in our lives is about to be written. I have learned many things since I rode that green tricycle behind the little house in Sturgeon. Now that we have come to this junction I look back at what my dad taught me. First and foremost: be nice to others. My Dad was always there when someone needed to move, or had a car that required fixing. I may not have realized it at the time but his actions led me to join the volunteer fire and ambulance services. Thank you for teaching me to give something back.
My parents have been married for 48 years. I have watched them go through the good times and the not so good times but they are still together. Last Christmas they asked one another what they wanted and they both replied YOU. I am now married to my best friend and loving every minute of it. Although my dad is not one vocalize or show his emotions outwardly, he does care deeply. Thank you for teaching me how to love.
Faith is something I struggle with daily. But everyday I think about how my dad must struggle with his faith and then I realize that he does not struggle, he believes. Recently my dad told me his reward awaits him and we are all on the same road and some of us are exiting a little sooner. My faith grows everyday; sometimes not as much as I would like and I slip back every once in awhile. Thank you for teaching me to believe.
I have always marveled at machinery both big and small, from pocket watches to cars to tractors and beyond. I can remember sitting at the watchmaker's bench with Dad looking over my shoulder guiding my small hands to disassemble and then put the pieces back together so the watch would actually tell the time. To this day I still look at machines of all types and think back to the days of pocket watches. Thank you for teaching me to pick up a screwdriver.
It was challenging to be the first kid. My dad cared deeply and was often more cautious than I wanted or believed I needed. But I grew up safely. Now that I am older I consider his words and actions when undertaking things that are considered dangerous - whether I was running into burning buildings or flying light aircraft and helicopters. Those lessons enabled us to take the greatest adventure ever, our flight
from Denver to Salisbury. When we landed in Maryland and stepped onto the tarmac you looked at me and told me how proud you were I found all the airports. My reply was it was all thanks to a GPS. We had a good laugh. Thank you for teaching me have fun and be safe.
Now for the hard part, I know during my teenage years we often did not see eye to eye on much of anything and we were not as close as we could have been. I am thankful we have arrived at this place where we talk nearly every day and share the joy of being father and son. You have taken my wife into your heart as if she was your own. She loves you very much. We will miss you more than you can imagine. God speed you. Some day we will find ourselves together again. I will be the one riding the green tricycle.