Thursday, January 24, 2019

He Retired Finally at 76!

It's hard to wrap up a lifetime of work into one evening.  There were definitely tears from Dad, and us, as we watched the emotional crossover happen.   A lifetime of getting up early, routine, dreams, worries, accomplishments and defeats.  Self-employed for most of what I remember, a coach and teacher before that.  Some of my fondest memories of childhood were Saturday's when we would get up early for gameday at Lewis & Clark College.   This perhaps, why the sound of football is still comforting on crisp fall mornings.
Spring came and so did the crack of the bats.  I was so proud of my Dad being the coach, and my older sisters even more thankful he chose to coach college boys.  My dad coaching at 3rd base wearing the same uniform as the college boys, studying the game, us kids and cousins waiting for the next foul so we could run and retrieve the ball.  Rewards included free snow cones.  Additionally, a 5th inning dip into Grandpa's brown bag where we'd each get one full candy bar or money for the snack shack. The little things that make big memories.  Dad worked extra jobs so he could take us on fun summer road trips.  We all remember road trips of the 70's, leg skin stuck to the vinyl, no seat belts and always overheating on the way over the California Grapevine.  Surviving the mountain meant a world of fun on the other side.  One day Dad announced he was leaving Lewis & Clark.

Trading in the whistle for a suit and tie we suddenly had a different kind of life.  Saturday's were now reserved for cartoons, sleeping in and hanging out with friends.  We all played our own sports and we still had our coach handy, he just didn't wear the funny baseball pants.  A few fancy trips with the new company carved lasting memories for all of us.    The suit and tie job took us on an airplane to Europe and Hawaii for company conventions,  Suddenly, I didn't miss those free snow cones and instead replaced them with what we thought were free smoothies and part of being in room 525.  Dad's bag of quarters he saved for us to play video games and other kid things quickly ran out that trip. Once he realized 3 girls with his same last name and room number, were enjoying way too many smoothies, we were quickly limited to 1 each, per day.  The little things that make big memories. 

With the suit and tie also came more stress and a few years of some heavy tears from my parent's room.  This is where as a child I learned that you can't trust everyone's word that even though someone has high integrity like my hero Dad... other's well not so much.  That's when life turned pretty heavy for my Dad and Mom and God and His sovereign hand on our lives really big and present.  Opening my Bible, writing a verse on a small piece of paper for my Dad to find on his pillow, did more than my 13-year-old understanding could imagine. The little things that make big memories.  I also learned what never giving up, perseverance and humbleness looks like.  Hard, painful lessons learned for all and a fresh new start on the horizon,  however, Dad would never be the same spiritually or physically.

Three Heart attacks and quadruple bypass at 54 didn't take him out of the game.  In fact, he had 22 years of work still left in him.  Long passed the regular age of retirement Dad kept going.  Helping his clients set up for their own retirement but bypassing his own each year.  Well at 76 the time has come to put away the suit and tie, to pack up the office and fill the box with the final things of a lifetime of awards, diligence, and perseverance.  Now having time to create new memories and try new things that the office space couldn't provide.  Hopefully, he'll be able to find a secret drawer at home where he can stash his favorite snacks that are off the approved list.  Thank you, Dad, for your excellent example to our family you are truly an inspiration and we are thankful for your hard work and sacrifices!