True story: What retirement really means

As I walked into my dad’s retirement party this week, I saw him in a full suit (very typical), talking to a few other execs at the bank, and I couldn’t help but swell with pride. Biased, maybe, but I think the world of my dad. One reason for this was highlighted by all his coworkers at the party.

dad 1

My dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He’s thorough, dedicated, intelligent, and above all he’s honest. What an honor to God he must be. Whenever I’m stuck at work a little late, my grumbling is cut short whenever I think of my dad, and the work he puts in. No matter how many hours I’ve put in, I’m sure he’s worked double that on average. What an example! Those who always see him in suits and shiny shoes, sitting in his plush office, might not know where this strong work ethic comes from. He’s just an anomaly, they assume. A rare gem. Well, that highly intelligent guy at the bank came from a very simple small town home where hard work ruled. He loved running with his mutt dogs through open fields, playing baseball in an empty lot, and serving his quiet mother. No wonder he’s such a valued worker!

I’ll remember this example my whole life, I’m sure.

But I’ll remember something else more. He never worked too hard to hang out with his daughter. Here’s what I remember most:

-Jumping in leaf piles he raked

-Being taught (with patience) everything he was doing

-Curling up on his lap for stories of Lennie the Leprechaun

-Unraveling treasure hunts

-Singing the following: Mairs-e-dotes, Whatcha gonna do with the drunken sailor, You are My Sunshine,

-Being included in absolutely everything, from walks to the store to painting a swing set and scraping wallpaper

-Memorizing Scripture in chunks

-Hearing him play the piano or guitar as I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling

-Long walks and bike rides, where whole novel plots are outlined and kinks worked through

And this is just activities that included me. In his first week of retirement, he spent two days at my house, chopping weeds and pulling out an invasive vine system in the woods. From sun up to sun down, he was pulling, whacking, and raking. Sound like any retiree you know? Probably not. Because he’s not “just your average…” anything. Aside from helping out his poor daughter with her overgrown yard, he also serves several organizations with his financial expertise, works out, and saves some time to hang out with the grandkids. I don’t see any indication of slowing down, do you?

I would say “Dad, welcome to your vacation period” but that’s just not accurate. Guys like my dad don’t rest.

So instead, I’ll say, “Dad, congratulations on trading one type of service for another.” I’m proud of you for so many reasons.

PS all the pictures in this post are from my ultra-talented brother

dad 2


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