My Dad was the gold standard in parenting. When (I mean if! Mom get off the ledge and come back inside) Keith and I start our family; I will feel bad for our kids. They just won’t have it as good as I did.
For starters, we spent our summers at the yacht club on Lake Wawasee. We lived in a one room dormitory with two twin beds under the window, a bunk bed against the far wall, and a bunk bed cot set up in the middle of the room. (For real, bunk bed cots exist!) The kitchen was in a different building. And the bathroom stalls were so small that they had curtains instead of doors.
But my Dad was in his element. He grew up waterskiing and before he got old, he could cut a huge rooster tail with his slalom ski. And he could pull the boat for all levels of skiers
Notice that we are all on two skis and firmly inside of the (scary) wake.
This same skill-set could be applied to our attempts at snow skiing. Notice, he is the only one standing in this photo.
And my dad could build things. He put together this family luggage container (because his girls were never light packers) and designed a whole storage system for it. In fact, he designed a pulley system for the garage that stored this glorious box in the rafters and when you were ready to go on a trip, all you had to do was pull the car into the garage, lower the box directly onto the car, and secure it.
Sure, I build things. But I cheat. I follow the instructions and skimp when they get hard. (For instance, my latest shelving project is missing a screw in the middle and the bottom shelf is simply sitting on the cabinets below) Dad would be angry. He would probably wait for me to go to work, then pull the whole thing down, and fix it.
He played key roles in our plays – both real performances and the plays we created in our heads. He designed the sets, he attended the rehearsals as critic extraordinaire, and he played the best characters. He was the big baby in a church performance, and the grumpy bear in another. In fact, some of my best friends still refer to him as “Grumpy” because Mr. Barker was a mouthful.
He wasn’t afraid to embarrass us in private…
Or in public.
He had the craziest style.
In fact, the first time I saw him in “boring” neckwear was his bow tie at our wedding.
I want to become a college professor because I like research and I love summers off. But Dad was a life-long high school biology teacher. It was his calling. We rarely went out without running into one of his old students. And once, he taught three generations of the same family. (If someone were to do the math on this, you would realize that the women in this family would have to give birth at an average age of 17 to make this possible.)
He was a great driver.
(Well, most of the time)
And was always up for adventure.
For me, driving is an adventure and I avoid it as much as possible.
He could dance
And I have no rhythm. (I may have been a life-long embarrassment to him due to my lack of dance skills but my unshaken belief that I was the best dancer in the whole wide world)
He could come up with the best ideas for school projects and ways to past the time around the house.
And I always relied on him to come up with the ideas. I wonder if I will just be able to repeat the things I made in school for any future offspring instead of new ideas.
He was handy around the house and would have been able to survive when the world goes to hell in a hand basket. (This picture probably doesn’t apply, but since I’m not sure what exactly Dad is doing, maybe it applies because it LOOKS old).
If my power goes out for an afternoon, I totally freak out. I mean, I would have to climb flights of stairs. And eat all of the ice cream in the freezer. The horrors!
So Dad, if you are reading this, can you send me some divine intervention? My kids are really going to need it.