Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Yesterday was a good day.  I used Bessie the tractor to fetch stone from our property to the rental cabin to start filling in the driveway, which was pretty much a total disaster because of all the rain we've had.  It's about a mile between, and each trip took about an hour.  That counts shoveling the bucket full of dirt and stones, driving to the rental, dumping it, spreading it out, and then back again.

My daughter and son-in-law came by for a Father's Day visit.  They, like everyone, had a hard time finding this place.  The only tell tale sign that anyone is here is the Miata up by the road.  We had a nice visit, and Rick brought over his gun collection for me to store here for him.  I need something more powerful than my little .22 and more accurate than my shotgun.  One of the guns Rick brought over is an AK-47 type hunting rifle, sure to do the job if need be.  I put them all away, but on the next rainy day I'll go through them to see what we've got.

Ah, Father's Day.  For me, it brings remembrances of many pleasant days gone by.  The Gibson family was pretty close.  I recall many visits with family with great fondness.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and great-grandparents.  They're all gone now, as we will be one day soon.  Please make sure to visit your dad today if you're lucky enough to still have him.  I'm not so lucky anymore.

My dad was born in 1929. He graduated as salutatorian from Lansingburgh High School here in upstate New York in 1948. He wanted to go to RPI to study engineering, but because so many WWII vets were going to college on the GI bill, he couldn't get in. Instead, he joined the GE Apprentice Program and learned drafting. He eventually became the manager of the largest drafting department in all of GE at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna.

Dad retired at the age of 60. He never made a great salary while working, but he lived frugally and invested wisely. He wasn't wealthy, but he was comfortable. He had enough to do anything he wanted to do.  At first in retirement, he played softball and he and my mom travelled. They were active. Then my mom passed away in 2000 and Dad stopped doing much. I was concerned.

Dad always liked tinkering with automobiles, a genetic gift from an uncle who had a used car lot and often had Packards, Duesenbergs and the like around. Dad was a great shade tree mechanic, and my job was usually to "hold the flashlight" or go through the magic pretzel can looking for a washer or nut as he worked on cars.

As an adult, I had bought a few classic and antique cars and enjoyed them, and so I suggested to my dad that he should consider buying an antique or classic car to keep busy.

"Oh no. I would never spend money on something silly like that."

"You're not spending money, Dad. You're investing in something different. Something you can have fun with. How often do you play with your stocks and bonds?"

Well, the next thing I knew, my Dad had a '56 Thunderbird. I went to look at it.

"Do you remember the '56 Ford Fairlane I had when you were a kid?" asked my Dad.

The blue and white one?  Sure.

"Well, what I really wanted was a '56 Thunderbird. I didn't buy it, and bought the Fairlane instead. Do you want to know why?"

I dunno Dad, why?

"Because Ma and I had you, and we needed a back seat."

So Dad finally got his Thunderbird at age 72.

When Dad passed away, he willed his '56 to me, and his '57 to my sister. I enjoyed the '56 for awhile, going to car shows and such. I even had it trucked to Georgia while we were living aboard there on Drift Away. But now, I really don't have much time for it, being busy building our little place in Bleecker. I gave it to my daughter and son-in-law as an early inheritance. They'll put it to good use, and Grandpa would be very happy.

Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you, and miss you.


  1. That was a great gift you gave your Dad -- convincing him to get that car when he couldn't convince himself. My Dad enjoyed drawing until he passed away.

    1. I remember seeing some of your Dad's drawings. Advertisements for women's clothing for a Troy department store. Denby's maybe. I remember being really impressed.

      This reminds me of being in second grade and our assignment was to tell the class what our fathers did for a living. I had no idea what a draftsman did, so I asked my dad.

      "I draw things."

      "Like what?"

      "Flies, mostly."

      I didn't get the joke, and told my entire 2nd grade class that my Dad drew flies.

  2. The Tbird got a nice outing today, we drove it to Voorheesville where my buddy's parents were throwing a champagne brunch for him and his new wife (who eloped).

    Drove and ran great, got caught in a tiny sprinkle and that was it. I hope we didn't upstage the newlyweds at their reception :)

    1. That car is certainly an attention getter. I'm glad you're having fun with it.