Today, my father turns 80 years old.
There are too many things to thank my father for. Now that I am a father myself, I realize that many of the things he did were done practically anonymously. Much of what he did was done without any fanfare or crowing about it. It was probably almost anonymous because it was done so consistently. He went to work day after day to serve his neighbor (most of those work years as a trust officer), and to provide for his family.
I remember trips into what was then Security First National Bank. He had a desk in a large room with probably 20 other employees. The ceiling in that room was probably about 15 feet high. I always thought it was really cool. Eventually, he got his own office which, as I recall, was a glorified cubicle. It might have been more private, but it was never as cool as that big room.
When the bank moved his job to Milwaukee but left him behind in Sheboygan, he tried his hand at jobs that he probably would rather not have held--insurance salesman, vacuum cleaner salesman, real estate salesman, and eventually employee at Sheboygan Paper Co. But he did what he had to do to continue to be a provider. Again, without fanfare (although his retirement came with some degree of jubilation).
I suppose the greatest service he provided over the years was Christian disciple--especially the discipline that meant we were going to be in church whenever there were church services. Sunday mornings and Wednesdays in Advent and Lent were never optional. It is just what we did. And then he sent me to the Lutheran elementary school at Calvary, Sheboygan and later to Manitowoc Lutheran High School where we made the daily trip up and down I-43. I don't know how nervous my parents got over us on the road every day, especially in winter. But God was good. The only damage I ever did to the car was in our drive way. The other fender bender was when the car was parked and I was nowhere near it. It is a relief when those things aren't your fault.
Anyway, all those years of Christian discipline served my good both temporally and, by God's grace, eternally. It even resulted in my continuing my Lutheran education through college and seminary so that I am a pastor today.
He also took us on really cool vacations. We had a blast no matter where we went--whether to see the grandeur of the national parks in California or the legendary stories of "camping" on the gravel lot in Brush, Colorado where one could easily confuse the urinal with the sink. The Germany trip was phenomenal, and I am glad that we finally got to go on it after years of dreaming about it.
Anyway, some stories are best re-told over ice cold beers in person. I am hoping to do that again this summer, depending on what the schedule permits. In the meantime, I will hoist one up for you later today.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
|Mom, my brother Paul, and Dad in Leipzig.|
|Dad and Mom in Heidelberg.|
|Mom & Dad with their children, Paul, me, and Kris, celebrating their 50th anniversary, summer 2014.|
|My parents with all their children and their spouses and grandchildren.|