I was on an evening walk with a good friend recently and we heard the sound of a train in the distance. I told him that that sound always reminds me of my dad. When I was in high school, I would always hear the sound of a train early in the morning. My schedule had trained my body pretty good to wake up naturally at a specific time even before my alarm and this was the order of events: 1) wake up 2) sound of train whistle 3) alarm clock buzz 4) Dad coming in the room and gently saying, "Kathy, time to get up." Now, every time I hear a train whistle I think of him. One time, during one of my first years away from home at college, I was going to bed late after working on homework or something and would be getting up very early for swim practice and I was praying, before going to bed, asking that I be given the strength to handle how tired life was making me. Then, in the distance, I heard the sound of a train, I thought of my dad, and I knew I could do it. It all comes back to the love of a father.
They say that all good things must come to an end. Well all good things had a beginning too and my good life began in California under the care of two very loving parents. Now, I live in Utah and, when my parents visit me here, they like to have an "our place." It has been Zupas for their soup and sandwich combo, Rooster for their desserts, and is now Thai Drift (coconut soup and pineapple curry... yum). I think it's my parents' way of feeling like they have a spot my my life still. How little they understand about their "spot" here... it's a bit bigger than that. This blog is to honor my dad for Father's Day and to show how many trains of thought in my every day life lead back to him. There is a whole train yard full for my mom as well. All roads lead home and all trains of thought lead back to you Dad.
Wake up. Early. Get ready and put makeup on a pair of green eyes with one brown freckle in the right one. A matching set is probably grading physics papers right now (hold the makeup). That set has two freckles. Lucky.
Downstairs to eat. Hmmm... what to have? Ah! Bread with peanut butter and honey on it... opened face and eaten with a fork. Tall glass of milk. (Sometime I like eating peanut butter just so milk is even more refreshing.) I spread peanut butter. A small smile. Dad's peanut butter is usually spread almost as thick as the bread. The honey is poured generously too. The man likes his toppings.
Hop in the car. Country song on the radio. Country was the music we listened to on the way to seminary and to swimming. We'd sing along even if we only knew some of the words.
Go for a swim. A random stranger asks for advice because she's having problems breathing correctly and she wants to compete in a triathalon. Know how to help her. Teach her about her stroke using physics. Dad always explained things so well.
Plan to go to a shooting range this weekend with a friend. My dad was in the National Guard. He did rock climbing and a lot of sports with his girls but didn't take us shooting. There are so many things he's so good at that were a big part of who he was, before we became a big part of who he was, that we have never even seen. He was a big skier before we were born too. Maybe next time Dad is in town he could take me shooting.
Shop for shoes. Head straight to the big sizes. There are only two places (Payless and Target) that I can shop for shoes because they carry my size. Other than that I have to shop online for them at department stores. Tall people problems. Ah, you get used to them. I love being tall. I get that from my dad's side of the family.
Meet up with Megan to get a hamburger for lunch at Five Guys. They have such good burgers. The best hamburgers in world are found at Happy Jacks. Happy Jacks is small, family owned place in my hometown. It was always a place Erin, Dad, and I would go. Last time I talked to Dad on the phone, we made a plan to go when I'm in town this summer.
Read something about the happenings in the middle east. Want some clarification on the background of the story. Call Dad.
See an advertisement for The Scottish Games. Ah, HIghland High School... those were some good times. Teenage years are hard, but they're better knowing someone you love is near by. Dad was there.
Counsel with a good friend. Have that friend walk me through the pros and cons list of a big decision. He does a good job of helping me see the options and asks the right questions to get at what my concerns are. He leaves me with the feeling that I can work things out and that I will make a right choice. He has helped to clear my mind but it is my mind that gets to make the decision. I feel able. The choice I make will be a good one and I don't feel pressure one way or the other and don't necessarily know what my friend thinks is the right choice. My dad counsels with me like this too and always has. I was never really a teenager who was told what to do. I came to him and we sorted through things and then I would hear something like, "You know Kath, I think that you've got a good idea. That makes a lot of sense. Good luck." (I even heard that this week from him.)
See a boy I could be interested in at a party. He may ask me out someday... or not. Whatever happens I know that I deserve a good man and that the only option is to find one who respects and treats me with kindness. I expect and assume great things will come from the man I love. The first man to love me on earth adored me and cared for me as one of the richest blessings of his life. I am one of four women he devotes everything to. We are treated as queens and he is honored in return. The next man to treat me that well has no idea how much love and care he'll receive from me in return. I was taught to recognize love and taught to give it.
Go on an evening walk. I wish Dad were here and he could go with me. We could walk and talk or walk and not talk and feel completely comfortable. Look at the incoming storm. I love clouds. This time I think of another father. This father created this beautiful world I live in. He sent me to an earthly father who would teach me to have faith and hope in Him. This particular father, and how well he did at expressing his love through kind service to his family, would make it easy for me to understand the love of a Heavenly Father. It would just make sense. Having lived a life filled with love from an earthly father, love I could not earn but was just freely given, I could conceive of the love of a Heavenly Father. Again this love would simply be given because it had not been earned. I recognize that weak and flawed as I am, I am loveable. That is a rich blessing indeed and my Lifetime Blessing Quota is filled from Day 1. Life is also full of challenges. But I can face those challenges remembering the love of both fathers. I go home and pray to the one and for the other.
And as I hit the pillow, I hear the distant sound of a train.