Things My Dad Taught Me
Working Hard is Honourable
My father takes the notion of “work ethic” to a whole new level. For example, he had perfect attendance at work – never missed a day, never even one second late for work – for the last 24 years of his career. Think about that. Up until he retired last year, he had worked every single shift he’d been scheduled for since 19851. My sister and I are both ridiculously hard workers2 and that is in no small part due to the example that our dad set.
Biology is Awesome
Although my dad worked most of his life in the automobile industry3, he really should have been a veterinarian or a farmer, as he’s most in his element when he’s with his birds. He has a bit of a hobby farm where he keeps all sorts of birds and some other animals too – so I grew up around chickens, turkeys, swans, pheasants, peacocks and, of course, the pigeons. When I was little, a blue jay died in our yard and my dad brought it into the garage to decompose so that we could examine the skeleton, because biology is freaking cool. I’m sure that my choosing an educational career in biochemistry/physiology was influenced by early zoology lessons at the coop!
How To Drive
My sister and I both got our driver’s licences when we were 16 years old – pretty much as soon as was humanly possible. And while we both took driver’s ed4, we spent a tonne of time practicing with our dad when we had our learner’s permits. To this day, I always back into my parking spots, rather than driving in forwards, and taxi red lights, because that’s what my dad taught me to do!
My dad is a big kid. My childhood summers were filled with trips to Canada’s Wonderland and waterparks and the go-kart track – and my father was always the first in line for the rollarcoasters and the water slide and he’d seriously race you in those go-karts5. At family gatherings, he’ll always be the one horsing around with the kids. So when you see me doing goofy things – and let’s be honest, that’s pretty much every day – I’m just being my father’s daughter.
Love Is Expressed in Gestures
My family is not big on saying “I love you” in so many words, but they are always doing things that show they care. Whether it’s greeting me at the airport with a sign with my name on it like a chauffeur would6, bringing me home a coffee, offering me a “cuppa”7 or watching my beloved Canucks play into double overtime (even though he’s a Leafs fan and it’s three hours later in Toronto than it is in Vancouver!), my dad lets me know that he loves me.
I love you, Daddy. I hope you have a very happy birthday!
- And for the 20+ years before that, he can list the days he missed work. Things like the days my sister and I were born or my grandparents’ funerals. [↩]
- We probably work too hard, truth be told. [↩]
- Installing transmissions into Mack Trucks and later making brake parts [↩]
- He wanted us to take driver’s ed because he wanted to make sure we learned to do things the proper way, as opposed to picking up any of his bad driving habits. [↩]
- Truth be told, the race always came down to him and my sister; I never really had the guts to go all out the way that they did! [↩]
- No matter how many times he does that, it’s always funny to me! [↩]
- That’s a cup of tea. [↩]