The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Father's Gifts

By Elaine Slater Reese - Spring Green, Wi.

My father was a farmer - not one like those who own the big corporate farms today.

He was a one man operation on 210 acres of a grain and beef farm.

Except on Sunday when he wore his only suit to church, he was dressed in bib overalls and a long sleeved blue denim shirt.

His strong arms could lift hay bales or hold babies. He could operate tractors, mowers, discs, and hay balers.

I was always fascinated by his greatest talent - his ability to often repair the farming equipment. Usually he didn't have the time or money to hire someone to do that.

Remember how women could fix many items with just a bobby pin?

Well, like a lot of his neighbors, he always kept a supply of binder twine and baling wire. Yes, that often actually worked!

I recently gave a Father's Day presentation and decided to take the items I have from my father.

From the laundry room wall, I took the old wooden milk stool he made of two pieces of wood he nailed together with five nails. It took some real practice and talent to sit on that low thing without falling over. Years ago I decorated it with an orange bow. I know he would be so surprised and happy if he walked in my house and saw that.

There was his old corn knife. I can see him now on a hot day cutting corn stalks out of the bean field.

And, of course, like others of that time, it was always used for beheading the chickens that would be that great fried chicken for supper.

By the kitchen door hangs his black metal cow hobbles.

Don't know what that was? When he milked our one dairy cow, he placed those on her back legs so she couldn't kick.

Many photos show him teaching me at a very young age to appreciate and love all the animals.

I also have his mother's Bible and his grandfather's large old family Bible.

None of these items have much monetary value. But they are precious to me. They bring back so many good memories of times with my father. There are also the other gifts he gave me- the really important ones.

They are what he taught me - the things that helped shape and form who I am.

Don't count the hours - count the importance of the job.

Always be honest - and never lie!

We are here to help others.

Two bits of advice he told me to always remember - "If you are right and everyone else is wrong, take another look at yourself".

The other was "If something really bad happens to you, don't let it destroy the rest of your life."

As I grew, my father gave me the gift of choices. I learned that I had to live with the choices I made - whether they were good or bad.

My father loved me. And he taught me that our Heavenly Father also loves me. I have been blessed.