I can’t tell you how many times during this remodeling project I have thought about my dad. Daddy was a man very much like LeRoy, in that he didn’t appear to be afraid to tackle any project. He was a farmer and farmers have to be jacks of all trades in order to keep things running. He was a welder, a mechanic and at times a design engineer. He tried his hand at all of them, mostly with success.
His primary construction expertise in our community was laying concrete blocks and everyone called on him when they were ready to build a basement, but he didn’t limit himself to that skill. The summer LeRoy and I got married, Daddy demolished my bedroom and my childhood home become a memory. He cut off the top story of the old farmhouse in which he had been born and had the county crane lift it off in two sections. Then he raised the house a foot and a half above the original foundation, added on around it to make room for a garage, two bedrooms and a half bath, built a new roofline and bricked the whole thing!
One year he and Mother came to visit us in Oklahoma and he put in a new kitchen for us. I had designed it and ordered the cabinets, but Daddy installed them all and did whatever plumbing and electrical work had to be done. LeRoy helped when he wasn’t at work, adding an extra set of hands and strong muscles. I have one vivid memory of that project that still stands out and it involves the sink installation. Somehow, even though there was a paper pattern for the sink cutout, the hole got cut too big. There was no money for another counter top so it had to be “fixed”. Until the day we sold that house, I always saw the 1/4″ or so of silicone around the edge of that sink that filled the hole. I still dread hearing “Oops!” when a project is underway.
Now back to our current project. Both LeRoy and I are just about running on empty. Day after day we go to the house and do what has to be done, but we come away exhausted. It dawned on me today that Daddy was probably just about the age we are when he rebuilt our kitchen from scratch, but I don’t remember hearing him complain. And all the while, he was sleeping on a Murphy bed! While I was grateful, I didn’t really appreciate the effort it took. Daddy has been gone since the early 1990s but I’m so thankful for the example he set not only for me and my sisters, but for LeRoy and my brothers-in-law as well.
Thanks, Daddy! I love you!