My Daddy can do anything.
He can build cabinets and shelves, fix appliances, run electrical wiring and plumbing, repair heating and air conditioning, tar rooves, lay flooring, pour concrete, fix cars, install windows and rig just about any device under the sun.
He can make me laugh when I cry, and cry when we fight. He makes the world’s most delicious salmon cakes and cabbage rolls and never tells a joke without the proper amount of flair. He tells stories about his rowdy, bar-hopping, motorcycle-riding days of working on the oil rigs in Oklahoma. Then he remembers that I am his daughter and promptly advises that I not follow all of his footsteps.
He loves green beans, boiled potatoes, goldfish crackers and, of course, my Mom. He shakes his head when I tell him I haven’t checked the oil in my car for three months and routinely asks for the address of the first boy who broke my heart, just in case he’s ever “in the area.”
The sky could fall down and I wouldn’t be worried, because my Daddy could save the world.
But even though he is my hero, to many people my dad is simply the handyman, the technician, the AC and heating guy, the plumber, the electrician — a hero in the moment, but often quickly forgotten.
An entrepreneur, he ran a business with my mom for 10 years. If an elderly couple called at 3 a.m. on a cold winter evening because their furnace stopped working, off he went to save the day (or night, as the case may be). If a friend or brother was caught in a bind and needed help on a job of their own, they knew they could count on him to be there. If his instincts told him that the customer was caught between a financial rock and a hard place, he would work to find a creative way to fix the problem in an effort to reduce the cost of the house call. If a problem was simple, he gave advice over the phone to help the homeowner fix the issue, even though that meant he wouldn’t make any money for his expertise. He never tried to sell a customer something he knew they didn’t need.
And even though he was always ready to handle an emergency, he never missed a single ballet recital, volleyball game or academic awards ceremony. He beamed the day I graduated high school and helped me choose a leather jacket the night before I left for college.
Even now that I’m off at school and he’s working for a larger company, he is still my hero. Just this past summer, he took the day off so he could be there with my mom and brother to see me off to Africa and meet me at the airport when I returned. He always has time to talk, even if he is at a job site and I call to say that the kitchen sink in my apartment is broken again, but I have my toolset ready so where do I start?
Today is National Tradesmen Day. Often unappreciated or disdained, tradesmen offer services and talents that are incredibly valuable, but we think of them only when something breaks. They receive the brunt of our impatience and frustration, because they can fix something we can’t.
National Tradesmen Day is an opportunity to correct this impression and show them that they are appreciated. Even if you just make a quick phone call, your action will bring a smile to the face of a well-deserving individual. Take a moment today to thank your own handyman hero.
As for mine, he is working with my brother this weekend to install and sand a new hardwood floor for my mom’s kitchen, but I know that she will make sure he reads this post.
Thank you, Daddy. I know you’ll always have my back.