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One of my favorite memories of my dad was when I was in the sixth grade. My class was planning a field trip to Lincoln's birth place and I was really looking forward to it. I remember the field trip cost five dollars. I got into trouble at school and my punishment from the teacher was that I didn't get to go on the field trip. She gave me five one dollar bills back. I walked home after school praying that my mom wasn't home. My mom was the disciplinarian of the family. My dad, was not as hard on me. I remember that walk home being one of the longest walks. As if God answered my prayers, Mom wasn't home. Dad was sitting in the kitchen at his usual place at the table, drinking coffee. After I told him what happened, I gave him the money. He looked at the money for a moment and then gave me one of the dollars. I was quite confused. "I know you wanted to go on that field trip." he said. "I can tell you feel really bad about what you did." With tears in my eyes, I told him I did. "You won't ever do it again, will you?" I told him I wouldn't. "As I see it, you've been punished already. Take that dollar and go to the corner store and buy you some candy." As long as I live, I'll never forget that. I could go to him about anything. It didn't matter what it was. His philosphy was that if I did something wrong and I came to him and told him, the punishment would be far less than if someone else told him. My dad hated dishonesty and he taught me to always be straight with him. My father wasn't an educated man, but he was one of the smartest men I knew. I guess life was his teacher. He lived in many places before he settled down and got married at the age of 26. He was in the army for a couple of years during WWII. The army sent him to Germany where he was the cook. That would explain how he could peel a potato with great precision with his own pocket knife. He lived in New York and Oregon for a while also. I remember him telling us he didn't care for New York. My mom told me once that she could never beat him at any game, whether it was checkers, or any card game. He won every time. My dad worked at a tire retread shop for 28 years when he was forced to retire early. The company he worked for closed the shop down. My dad was quite upset over this but he didn't stay unemployed for long. He decided to start his own lawn service. He made as much money doing that as when he was working. He drummed up quite a business for himself. My dad seemed to enjoy the lawn service. He was his own boss, had his own hours and he wasn't nearly as tired as when he worked at the retread shop. I knew my dad wouldn't live to be an old man. None of his brothers or sisters lived to see sixty. He had a half brother that lived to be seventy. All but two died of heart attacks. My dad would be no exception. He died at the age of sixty of a massive heart attack. My dad was one of the greatest men I knew and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him and think about him. If I had to describe my dad with one word, it would be steadfast. His love for the Lord and his family was unwavering. He loved us unconditionally.
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