I believe I found my high school graduation card while cleaning out a bedroom in my mom’s house. This is the only card I have with my dad’s signature. Although my dad only finished middle school he was a huge proponent of education. He was elated when I graduated from high school and headed to college. I am the 5th child of my dad’s 6 kids and the first to graduate from college. My dad was very diligent when it came to skills, he painted, exterminated, drove a cab and school bus, knew a little about plumbing and electricity. I believe my tenacity to learn new skills and being an early riser is from him. It may explain why I was foolish enough to pursue an engineering degree. He was never one to sleep in, his philosophy was to get up early and get it done. I am not a fan of getting up early it makes me feel well accomplished. Unfortunately, my dad passed away during my 2nd year at college. I remember coming home before the end of my first semester and getting the news. The house I grew up in felt so cold and dark. I was in shock because I had just visited him in the hospital the month before and for me growing up with a parent who periodically went into the hospital was not unusual. My dad was a longtime smoker since probably his teens and he suffered from emphysema which caused multiple trips to the hospital. I learned to deal with it and always thought he would always come home good as new. This was his last trip to the hospital.
He missed a gazillion jokes, questions, feelings, emotions, ups, downs, and daddy and daughter time. I remember some of the things he always said “a hard head makes a soft” (I know it sounds like a convoluted statement), the gist of the statement means to listen, look and learn otherwise you will not like the consequences! Always check your tires before you take off, and he never wanted me to learn how to change a tire. He thought it was too dangerous and better for an experienced person. I remember how proud he was when I received my freshman grades and I made the dean’s list. I wish at times I could talk to him and get his perspective on so many life issues. A dad’s advice for a daughter means so much as an adult. Memories are meant to cherish and hold on to as we remember those who have passed on. My advice is to cherish the time you have with your loved ones.