Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jack of all Trades

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

Today’s photo is of Andrea Herrin and her dad, the subjects of this story:

“There is a family of four who have posed for me several times as I’ve taken photographs to illustrate one or the other of my books. One Saturday when I arrived at their home to snap a few new pictures, I found that the wife’s parents were visiting for the weekend. Her mother was moving around in the kitchen, busying herself organizing her daughter’s countertops.

In contrast, her dad sat quietly in a reclining chair, slouching a little and watching TV with his granddaughters. As I shook his hand when we were introduced, I noticed his knuckles were thick with arthritis.

I took the photographs I had come for, and then offered to take a few extras of the family with their guests. It wasn’t until I asked the grandfather to move from the recliner that I understood he was compromised by a chronic orthopedic condition common in old age. His daughter looked at me and whispered, “It’s hard for him to move.”

I quickly thought of a new pose, her dad remained comfortably seated, and soon I finished my work and left them to continue their visit.

I guess I mentioned working on this book during my visit because a few days later I received this email:

“As my seventy-five year old dad sat in his chair, he looked out the window, furrowed his brow and sighed. ‘Jack-of-all-trades but Master of none,’ he said. I asked him what he meant.

‘I was once able to do many things, tune up our car, repair the TV, do electrical work, plumbing, and construction, but I have mastered none. All of it has passed me by.’

I thought about what he said and then I shared my point of view.

When I was young money was tight. My dad worked hard nearly every day and sometimes on Sundays and holidays. He would work an eight hour shift at a local textile mill, come home for supper, do things around the house and then assist his parents in caring for their farm. On occasion he would have to work a double shift at the mill. Some days he would cut the grass of our large yard and then go cut my grandfather’s even larger yard of grass.

He was hardly ever out of work sick and never took more than one week vacation each summer. During that vacation week we did not travel; instead, my dad made necessary repairs on our and his parents’ homes.

Even as busy as he was fulfilling his roles as husband, dad, son and an employee, he always had time for me. I wanted a go cart and he made one for me out of wood and spare parts. I wanted a skate board and he made one, once again from scrap wood and spare parts. I decided I wanted to be a gymnast so he erected a parallel bar in the back yard for me to play on. He made a teeter totter with horse head handles, and rode it with me, his only child. He also made a pair of stilts, a toy box, a bookshelf, a desk and more. Many of my toys were made and assembled by his loving hands; some of them are still around and my daughters play with them.

My dad would come home in the evening as the sun was going down, after being the Jack-of-all-trades all day long, and tuck me into bed.

After you left the other day I watched my two young daughters stay near him as he sat in his chair. His eyes danced as he read to them, and then he carefully lowered himself to the floor to show them how to shoot marbles.

Yes, my father is a Jack-of-all-trades but he is also a Master of all of them. He has shown me that through love, creativity, and careful planning that most things can be achieved. He can do it all and I know so because he did it all for me.”

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

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