If, as Hillary Clinton suggested, it takes a village to raise a child, then most certainly the chief of that tribe is dear ole' Dad. He's the head honcho, the guy where the buck stops, and dispensary of priceless wisdom and advice. My father, one of six children born on a farm in the nation's Wheat Belt, brought a lot of Kansas sensibilities with him to California. My sisters and I have been the beneficiaries of his many life lessons from the Plains ever since.
My earliest memories of my father are of his laughter. There's a dry wit that blows off the wheat fields of the Midwest. His has always been couched in subtle irritation or annoyance. I'm convinced his medicine cabinet has been stocked full of laughter all these years. If we can't do anything about it, we might as well laugh about it, he'll say. Of course, not everything in our life has been a laughing matter, but we have always been able to find the humor in something.
Fix it. The father of my children is a brilliant legal eagle, but i'm not sure he would recognize a hammer if he saw one. My father on the other hand, has always been ever at the ready with a tool kit to tackle any household repair. When my mother died, I looked for anything and everything that needed fixing. In time, those menial tasks helped fix his broken heart as well. Time is a gift, don't leave it idling like an engine or let it go to waste, he says. Anything can be repaired, especially fences needing mending.
Family First. At the end of the day, all we have is each other, my father says. Now in the sunset of his life, whether in a hospital bed or medical office waiting room, he will often say, "I don't know what I would do without you girls." The man who brought my sisters and me into this world, cradled us, fed and nurtured us, now finds himself in a reversal of roles. Frankly, I don't know what we would do without him, or his lessons of the importance of honesty, integrity, saying what you mean and meaning what you say, working hard, and loving and laughing even harder.
On this Father's Day, a tip of the hat to my wonderful dad, Herschel Kimble, and all the other men in my life and others who have left indelible marks on their children and grandchildren in their greatest of jobs - fatherhood. It 'Manners' A lot!