Cry Me a River
Crying in relation to birthdays, celebrations and people we love is practically a family tradition; one that I think started with my Dad, or at least he is the first person that comes to mind on the subject of being sentimental. It's one of the things I love about Dad. He just can't talk about the people he loves without getting a little choked up, or in the case of talking about Mom - a lot choked up. In fact, I think our family likes to torture ourselves on such occasions by writing really nice things that make us cry on purpose. We give cards, except for when I forget - I think I'm the only one forgets, but I also blame that on my Dad. Anyway -there is that awkward moment where you are watching the person you gave the card to open and read it, and tear up, and then we look at each other and laugh, cause we're both crying and say something about what useless saps we are, wipe our tears, and feel really good. 'Course - I'm just speaking for myself right now - maybe everyone else in the family wishes it would all go away - but I have my doubts.
In terms of crying there is nothing quite like our Christmas cry fest over the Christmas poem that my Dad writes every year. It has a nice lilt, great pentameter, usually a Suessical quality to it, and yet, it makes all of us Strahl kids cry. Our spouses, and now the oldest grandkids have learned to just sit quietly and smile - (they'd not dare to smirk, would they?) at this little tradition. I know deep down, they love it like we do.
He Loves Her, Ya, Ya, Ya
I love the way my Dad loves my Mom. Next to Jesus, there really is no one that holds a candle to her in my Dad's eyes, and she loves him back just as much. It's hard to write a little Ode to my Dad without mentioning her, cause they are one, really. There was such security growing up knowing how much my Dad loved my Mom. I have learned so much watching their marriage, and hope that my kids see the same thing in us.
|Chuck and Deb|
Name That Tune
Something else I love about my Dad is his affinity for having a partial song for every occasion. Now, he doesn't know full songs - but he knows a tune and a line for every occasion. Whenever I break out into song (and it happens a lot) and I start singing the first line that comes to my head of a song I don't really know (which happens a lot), I think of my Dad. It's quirky, and I love it. He introduced me to the partial songs from the Beatles, Neil Diamond, and CCR to name a few, and I'm not ashamed to say I love it, even though I still don't know all the words to the songs after all these years.
Get 'Er Done
If there's one thing I know I got from Dad, it's the love of a project. Something to do. A purpose for the day. It might be gardening, landscaping, building a fence, painting a room, or cleaning a garage - but I love that Dad always has a project of some kind going on. It was from my Dad I learned the value of a sketching out the latest dreams and schemes for the house and yard. They're just ideas, and ideas are free, and fun to share. I think the family motto for doing projects goes something like: "We're not good, but we're slow". Did I mention self-deprecation is also a gift we have learned from Dad?
Regardless of whether are not we are adept at getting a project completed, I think there is such joy in having purpose. I am thankful for the ability to work, and to work hard. I learned that from my Dad. I may have also learned the art of getting a project 7/8 done - but we're just talking about the good stuff today :)
Wanna Work, I Mean, er, Play?
When we were kids, "playing with Dad" usually meant going into to town to get parts or pieces to whatever it was that was going on. Then we got to come home and "help". I looked forward to those times a lot - it may be because Dad always needed a chocolate bar along the way too. Mmmmm, chocolate bars.
Having kids of my own now, I could question how much my Dad actually loved having us along for the trip, or the help, for that matter, but it's the memory I have - that he always was glad we were around. For the record, I play "Get 'Er Done" a lot with my kids, and for the most part, I love it when they do a project along with me. If that means I am more like my Dad in that way too -that's a-o-k with me.
A Man and His Convictions
I have always, always, been proud of my Dad. I did my best to make my parents doubt that I felt that way in my rebellious youth, but honestly, it was an almost impossible task to not be proud of him. I remember trying so hard to think of something not to like, to fit in. I remember tearfully complaining to a youth leader (I may have been a tad dramatic, but I outgrew it) that my parents were just too young, and that they needed to be older so that they could understand less what I was going through. Ah, hormones and teenage angst. Funny thing when your Dad never rolls his eyes or speaks poorly about his kids being teenagers (or any stage, for that matter) - it tends to make it harder to say how lame your parents are too. In fact, I remember it seemed like my Dad went out of his way to tell others how much he always enjoyed his family. There is a lesson in there somewhere.
I have always trusted Dad's word. I know that he will never compromise on things that really matter. He loves God and wants to do what is right by God's standards. He has set the example of doing what is right, regardless of the personal cost. Actions truly speak louder than words.
Here's To You, and Cake
I could write so much more; like how he calls all of us girls, "babe" and my brother, "son". Or how he runs for the sole purpose of eating more dessert. I smile a lot when I think of my Dad, and that's a good thing. I am looking forward to gathering as a family to eat way too much good food, followed by way too much dessert, followed by statements of self loathing for over-eating. It will be totally worth it, cause a man like that deserves to be celebrated at least once a year.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.