1 August 2016
I wanted to take the time to wish you a happy 76th birthday. I recently had the opportunity to go through some old photos and I was reminded of how grateful I am to have had you and mom as parents and the good home and upbringing you both made for us girls. First and foremost, I’m so grateful for the value of love for God which you both gave us. It must have been difficult to meld your two denominations, especially in a time when those things were more strictly divided. But I always knew that Saturday night we’d be settling into our preparations for the next day and that Sunday morning, without fail, we’d all be going to church. That rhythm you set, despite going to two different churches, let me know that our time set apart to reverence our Lord was not going to be negotiated and it established a pattern in our hearts from an early age.
Although Holly was too young to remember, Heide and I have warm memories of living in town. But I want to thank you, too, for all the opportunities you made for us when we moved out into the country (hard to believe that was “the country” once, isn’t it?) You instilled in us an ethic of work (with the morning to-do lists you’d leave us girls) and of doing a job well. You gave us opportunities to enjoy the fruits of our labors by allowing us to earn money with the gardening and our chickens or pigs. And you gave us the privilege of knowing that we were contributing in our small way to the family good, whether it was helping to set fence poles or harvesting vegetables or taking care of the animals or hoeing the shelter belt. I (we) didn’t always like those jobs, but amazingly we all look back now with fond, funny stories of those tasks and we’re so glad they were a part of our childhood. Work wasn’t the only opportunities you provided for us, but it’s surprising how warm and fuzzy that forced labor seems to us now. I also thank you for things like your work at our lake cabin, 4H, a playhouse, time with our larger family and cousins, vacations, as well as showing us how to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously, etc.
Lastly, thank you by leading us in good character. As a man of routine, we watched you go off to work each day (even when office politics must have made things difficult at times) and come home on time. You’d enjoy a very s-l-o-w-l-y eaten supper (while we cleaned up dishes around you) and then you’d have a bit of a rest on the couch before heading outside to do your “putzing and tinkering” (often with Jim, a.k.a “Elmer Fudd”). Your willingness to help others in need, your honest work, moderation in everything, and your steady approach to almost everything you’ve ever done, really defines you. Thank you for letting us grow up seeing that played out in your life.
So, on this, your 76th birthday, I pray you will know that we hold you very close in our hearts… as we do each day. Thank you for everything.
Lots of love,