Our parents were a product of the Great Depression, which means that their families used everything they owned with great care and ingenuity. I’ve heard my father say that when it came time to butcher pigs for the table, everything was used but the squeal.Whatever creativity my siblings and I have now surely came in some part from a climate of necessity brought on by living in difficult times.
Commute 6 x 9 pastel Private Collection
On Father’s Day, I honor my father, whose talents and empathy surely were born during the Dust Bowl, yet flourished in a mind fertile and open to wonder.Dad was a tinkerer, - that’s what he called it. He enjoyed being in his basement workshop, creating what we needed, or thought we needed. He whistled while he worked quite literally, busy with the necessity of raising 6 children on a teacher’s salary, and doing so with grace and cleverness. Dollhouses and tiny kitchens for my sisters and I, skateboards and jungle-gyms for the brothers, it was as much the challenge of the design and building as it was the need for keeping us satisfied. He built a guitar and then learned to play it, not so much because he enjoyed playing but because he wondered if he could.
We toured the Platte River in a flat-bottomed canoe built to withstand the excitement of wiggling children because it was more interesting to build one than to buy one. His first sailboat was built in the back yard, and the first of many remote-controlled airplanes were built in the basement, crashed in a field south of town, and rebuilt once again for another flight.
Leaves on Blue Water 24 x 18 pastel Private CollectionMy siblings and I have chosen very different fields, all with a nod toward my Dad in his workshop. I see some of that influence even in my sons.
It was not his great desire, nor his determination, that brought the traits of creative endeavor to my siblings and me. It was simply the way he lived his life.It’s not what we leave in boxes and piles that matters. It’s how we move through each day that leaves the greatest mark.
I wonder. What sort of mark will I leave?