Thanks Dad, For Teaching Me the Shoemaker Job

Phil-2

Every Father’s Day my dad comes to haunt me. It is no different today. Memories of the many times he counseled me and taught me the meaning of work run through my mind. His teaching method was simple. He never asked for help, he just did what dad’s do to labor. He got up early, ate his simple breakfast, and walked two miles to his job. He did this for forty-five years without complaint.

His example is all I needed to spur me to learn what he was doing, and to learn how he did it. We were not Hillary Clinton poor, we were dirt poor. As a result, Dad made many repairs on a shoestring. One job that comes to mind today was repairing rotted window sills. There wasn’t enough money in the till to buy new windows, and his mind-set was why buy a whole window for the sake of one board? His fix was to first dig out the rotted wood. Then he cut a scrap piece of good wood to fit loosely into the space. Next, he then generously smoothed a layer of heavy black tar to the frame, and then placed the new board into the goo. A couple of reclaimed wood screws held it firmly into place. The last step was to fill the seams at the ends to keep water out. He called it a “shoemaker job.” That wasn’t a derogatory slam at a shoemaker, but rather a compliment to the ingenuity of the shoe repairing trade.

Dad taught me to appreciate a “shoemaker” job. In my youth, I was never satisfied with less than perfection on my home repairs, but as I aged, visions of watching Dad do his “shoemaker” jobs finally changed my mind to become more satisfied with completion and less with perfection. Completion resulted in more time with my family where perfection denied me those minutes.

Happy Father’s Day to my Sons, Son-in-Law, Brother, Brother-in-Law, Nephews, Nephews-in-Law, and all my friends who are fathers.

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