Fathers Day had me reflecting on Dad. He’s been dead since 1995 and was gone for some time before that, because of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. As the years go by, it becomes easier to forget the bad moments and tough times, but also hard to remember some of the good times, as they get further back in time.

Dad with me and the new antique clock

Dad with me and the new antique clock

I took a digital picture of this snapshot of Dad holding me as a baby in front of a Civil War era clock he was proud of (although I’m not sure Mom thought they could afford it). I have this clock, which is not currently running, and a cuckoo clock, which I keep running, although it needs to be wound twice a day. Dad loved clocks, and I enjoy them in memory of him.

Other gifts and lessons I attribute to Dad:

  • A love of hiking and fond memories of family hikes at Indiana state parks
  • Enjoyment of Gilbert & Sullivan, Mozart and other melodic music
  • An insistence on correct pronunciation of my last name (pronounced kreeger, with 2nd vowel long as in German)
  • The importance of a good set of sharp desk scissors, and knowing where they are kept
  • A love of dessert – Dad always wanted some baked good, and the more choices, the better
  • Childhood stories being read to me and my brother, including Winnie the Pooh and folk tales in dialect
  • Knowing to stand for three songs: your school song, the National Anthem, and the Hallelujah Chorus
  • Rooting for you own team is good, but not rooting against the opponent
  • Knowing what a bed warmer is on sight, after all the stops at all the historical sights along the road
  • Independent soft ice cream places are the best, even though as a kid I pretty much only wanted chocolate/vanilla swirl
  • Minnows and tiny snails and snake grass at Coldwater Lake in Michigan, while we vacationed and Dad painted during his summer break
  • Appreciation for wood grain from Dad’s woodwork and hand-rubbed linseed oil finishes
  • Being frugal about energy and water use – Dad has solar panels on the house in the 70s, always made sure we didn’t leave the lights on, and always wanted us to take “Army” showers
  • Dad in the kitchen – making steamed puddings and bread, and making home made candy canes with me one year
  • Inspiring me to look for work that I enjoy doing, because he wasn’t happy with his choices along the way.

Although Dad would have been more likely to play Sir Joseph Porter than Captain Corcoran, here’s a slight alteration to Gilbert & Sullivan to close this out:

He was the captain of the Pinafore.

And a right good captain, too.

He was very, very good, and be it understood, he commanded a right good crew.

As evidenced by some of the lessons I still recall from my youth ….

Thanks, Dad!

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