Sunday, June 16, 2013


I was looking through some old photos today and, in a rather appropriate coincidence, came across some pictures of my Dad from a visit he and my Mom made a year ago in March.  They came for my master's violin recital, and, in typical Palmer style, helped me out with all sorts of projects while they were here.  I love that about them - they way they help with everything from cooking meals to assembling furniture to gardening.   And not because they have to, but because we like working alongside one another and spending time together.

Generally, you can be fairly certain that a photo of me wearing an old college sweatshirt at almost 8 months pregnant wouldn't be a favorite, but these photos kind of are, because my Dad looks so happy, and I love him so much.

Oh wait... did I say he looked happy?  Not in that one.  That was our 'American Gothic' impression.  Substituting a shovel for a pitchfork, but otherwise identical, right?

Okay, maybe not.

But here are the happy ones:

We had spent the afternoon planting pansies, and I'll always remember that day, because so much about it gets to the heart of the kind of Dad I have.  You see, I wanted to put flowers into my window boxes, and my parents were glad to help out with the project.  It necessitated a visit to our first house, our rental property, to pick up some of my gardening tools from the garage there.  When we got there, I was a little upset to see the state of the yard the way our tenants at the time were keeping it.  Garden beds I had created, perennials I had planted, tiny plants I had carefully nurtured... everything was overgrown with weeds, and some areas even had trash thrown on top of the plants, smothering them.

I quickly loaded my gardening tools into the trunk of my car, and was quiet on the drive back home.  And then I went into my bedroom and cried for a minute.  {Very pregnant, remember?  Does that give me an excuse to have been crying over crushed plants?}

In any case, my parents knew I was upset, and my Dad slipped out a little later that day to "run some errands."  He came back with five hanging baskets and dozens of pansies - a gift to help make our house more beautiful, to make me feel like I could garden in this home, too.  Just to cheer me up.

So we planted pansies together that afternoon, not just in the window boxes as I had planned but also in five new hanging baskets, which Dad helped me hang from the front porch and from the side porch.  And now I'll always think of Dad when I take them down each winter and then hang them again each spring.

Dad, thanks for being the kind of Dad who always lends a hand and enjoys a good project.  You've taught me how to use hand tools and power tools, how to put up a garden fence, how to solve problems, how to finish wood furniture.  You showed me all those things with great enthusiasm through your great sense of adventure, despite the health problems you've had for most of your life.  You're nearly always doing something, reading something, learning something.  {And then sleeping hard in your armchair when all the action wears you out.}  

But more importantly than all those things, you've modeled compassion, understanding, and a sort of strong gentleness.  A care for "the least of these," whether it was your kids, or a baby chick with an injury, or an ant wandering through our home you'd carefully take outside.  Or your grown up daughter crying because her perennials were carelessly crushed in her old back yard.

I'm so lucky to have you for a Dad.  Happy Father's Day.

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