(Continuation of the post: His Youngest Daughter is Born)
When I was younger my mom worked at my Catholic elementary school which was a job of little income, but it was something she enjoyed. It allowed her to be a part of our school, church, and community. Everyone knew her and she truly enjoyed being around people and having conversations. She also volunteered for the Hmong and Laotion Refugee Assistance Program through our church as well as, the New Beginnings Encompass pilot program. Both of these volunteer programs allowed for me, as a young child, to accompany her on the visits, so I went with her quite often. I am forever grateful for these first hand experiences; they allowed me to view the world through new lenses and understand not everyone lived a life like mine.
My father was a machinist; at least this paid most of the bills. When I think of the many things my father undertook and was capable of, the list is endless. He always had side jobs and he could fix anything, build anything, and maintained everything in and around the house. I was openly invited to keep him company when he worked on his various activities. This was a way to spend time with him since he always had projects he was completing; he never stood idle. He washed our cars by hand, changed the oil, did most of the yard work, baked, repaired things around the house, and had a small scale machine shop in the basement. He cooked most of the dinner meals in our household and baked cheesecakes for a local restaurant when I was younger. He also learned gunsmithing from his great-uncle Norman and repaired guns for a local sporting goods store on the west side of town.
I can still remember the resounding of a gun being fired in the basement as he tested it to be sure he had fixed it properly. One time he yelled really loud, after a shot, and fell to the ground. This was a stunt. He wanted to see if he could make my mother believe a ricocheting bullet had hit him; sometimes he took his jokes too far. A practical joker who got a rise out of trying to pull something over on someone for a laugh. My mother would usually shriek and chuckle tensely while lashing out at him for scaring her, yet again.
I watched my father work hard and never complain about the endless amount of tasks he had. He took pride in providing for his family and keeping busy with the necessities he felt were important to maintaining the household. A household that always seemed void of those lingering needed repairs that hang over most people’s heads. The ones a lot of people put off until it gets too bad to ignore. Those fix-it issues that we lose time for and put aside for later, or finally break down and call someone to repair. He always took those tasks on with pride; in his meticulous and punctual custom.