Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

About dads and nincompoops

June 15, 2006

As Father's Day approaches Sunday, there was an oddity that brought a whole host of thoughts together for me.

It was an odd word in an e-mail the other day from a friend. She referred to someone as a nincompoop. I hadn't heard that in forever. It was a favorite word of my granddad. He'd call us all a bunch of nincompoops. That was especially after stuffing ourselves at Thanksgiving, Easter or some other holiday. He'd say "Are you full, F-double O-L? Ya nincompoops."

I didn't even think it was a real word. I've never heard anyone else use it. Good grief, I thought when it flashed before me last week, what does it mean? When spell check didn't have a fit with it, I knew it was a word. I looked it up. Idiot. Dolt. Simpleton. Take your pick.

It's a cool word and I've promised myself to include it in my ever-increasing vocabulary. It just seems right.

But, that got me to thinking about both my grandfathers. They were both farmers, hard-working farmers, but you can't say one of those words without the other. I had the pleasure to work for them both at one time or another, driving hours and hours on the tractor for one and mending fence with the other.

As I look back, I realize I learned what hard work was all about from them and, really, there can be no better lesson. I will thank them forever.

They were instrumental with that lesson, but I'll guarantee you, they were only re-enforcers or examples, if you will. They can't hold a candle to my dad. He wrote the book on hard work.

I'm not going to go into specifics. He's just the hardest working man I've ever known. I won't tell you about the basements we refinished together, especially the one where he left me holding a piece of sheetrock on the ceiling while he took his sweet time to find nails. No. I'm not going to tell you about that one.

I'm not going to go into any more work stories, actually. There is so much more I've learned from him, things that are really more important if you adhere to the idea that no one wishes they'd spent more time at the office when they're on their death bed.

No, what I think I learned best from him was how to be a good dad. Over the years, he's often told me how much better a father I am than he was. I don't think so. But, something must have worked because I have two wonderful sons.

I'm thankful for that and I'm most thankful this year that I have a dad. He gave us all a real good scare back in September when he had to have abdominal surgery. That was scary enough. But, when there was another problem and he had to go under the knife again the next week, it was bad. Real bad.

Surgery is hard enough on 70-something-year-olds. Two surgeries are worse. There were too many hours in intensive care. There were too many worries, too many thoughts of the man I've known all my life.

But, he pulled through. He slowly recovered, including his voice that you couldn't understand over the phone and appeared to hurt him when he talked in person. It was a slow recovery, but it worked. He's as good as new. Well, almost.

I have too many friends that don't have fathers. I can't imagine it. I feel so lucky to once again be wishing him Happy Father's Day, just like I was last week on his birthday.

I may be a nincompoop, but I know it sure sounds good to hear dad, whether that's saying it to him or hearing it from one of my sons. Happy Father's Day.

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