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Monday, June 21, 2004

Father's Day Story...

Will you find me strange if I drop a tear on this one, too? I just cannot help it.

IF YOU WANT TO RIDE IN MY CAR

There was a time when I thought my dad didn't know a thing about
being a good father. I couldn't remember him saying the words, "I love
you." It seemed to me his soul purpose in life was to say "no" to anywhere
I wanted to go and anything I wanted to do. Including getting a car. Some
parents bought their kids cars when they got their driver's licenses. Not
my dad -- he said I'd have to get a job and buy my own.

So that's what I did. "I'll show him," I said to myself. "If he
won't get it for me, I'll get it myself." I got a job as a busgirl at a
very nice ocean-view restaurant and saved every penny I could. And when I
had enough to buy my own car, I did! The day I brought that car home, my
dad was the first one I wanted to show it off. "Look, Dad, a car of my own
-- all on my own. If ever you want a ride, I'll only charge you five
dollars." I offered with a smug smile.

"I see," was all he said.

One day, my father's truck had to go to the shop and wouldn't be
ready to pick up until the next evening. So he needed a ride to work. "If
that five dollar offer is still open," my dad said, "I'll take you up on it."

"Okay, but you have to pay on delivery. I don't accept credit."

"I see, " was all he said.

As I dropped my dad off I watched him, dressed in his work clothes
and boots, getting his tools from the trunk of my car...I could tell there
were more lines than I ever remembered being there before. I thought about
it and realized how hard dad works for his family. My father was a cement
mixer.

Watching him lift heavy tools from the car...there was something
about him that looked a little more fragile than I recalled. In that
instant, it occurred to me that he actually got down on his hands and knees
to sweat over hot concrete to make a living for his family. And he did this
day in and day out, no matter how he hot it got. Never, not once, had I
heard him complain about it. Never had he held it up to his children as
being some great sacrifice he made for us. I thought at how much he must
love us -- so much that he's willing to do this hard labor in hot weather,
and without so much as ever complaining or asking for anything in
return. To him we were "worth" it. And never once did he "charge" us for it.

When he slammed the trunk...he walked over to my window to hand me my
five dollars. I rolled down the window and said, "Good-bye, Dad. Keep
your five dollars. It's on me. Don't work too hard, I love you."

At first he looked puzzled, then in a clumsy sort of way --
pleased. "I won't," he said, then added, "Thanks for the ride in your
beautiful new car." His eyes met mine then glanced away in the direction
of his waiting tools, he cleared his thought and said, "Oh, me too."

As I drove away, I knew "me, too" was enough because my father
showed me his love with his actions, day after day, year after year. In
that moment, I decided I'd give him a ride in my car anytime he wanted--
free of charge.

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It is always refreshing to know what is in your mind. Thanks!