The thunderstorms this past Father’s Day were a fitting remembrance for my Dad. He used to watch the thunderstorms while bolts of lightning raced across the sky from the porch; unafraid, while we cowered indoors.
Dad could have been the prototype for the Rube Goldberg cartoon. Working for the signal corps on the Texas and Pacific Railroad spurred his originality in repairing household items. Our house had many one of a kind work-a-rounds that only he knew how to activate.
The wiring from our house to the garage was genius, protected by divine intervention. Electricity was required to heat the incubator for the baby chicks he ordered every spring. We prayed for the safety of the garage and its inhabitant during electrical storms.
He was a creative problem solver. A neighbor’s barking dog outside his bedroom was far beyond nuisance irritation. Dad’s approach was original, non-confrontational and effective. During one of the pre-dawn barking sessions, he opened a window and blasted an air horn purchased for this purpose. The dog stopped barking; the neighbor experienced the trauma of an unpleasant jolt from a sound sleep. He never had to use the air horn again.
I wonder now if he had second sight.
On my wedding day, he surprised me as he and I prepared to walk down the aisle, he said: “It’s not too late to back out.” I didn’t but should have. Years later when I returned home with two toddlers in tow, he could have said, “I told you so,” but didn’t.
After his death, I dreaded going to the garage. It was his kingdom, with buckets and buckets of old nuts and bolts, and apparatuses whose purpose was known only to him. At the estate sale, I expected the contents of the garage to be hauled away by the scrap iron dealer. I was wrong. Most of Dad’s items, even the old buckets of nuts and bolts were purchased by people who wanted a remembrance of him.
He was a simple, quiet man, who never told me he loved me, but I never doubted that he did.