My favourite Halloween memory is actually from the day after: November 1st, my dad’s birthday.
Photo by: Aleksandar Cocek
I’ll forever have the image of my dad filtering through our piles of pillow case plunder picking out the peanuts. I loved watching him and was delighted that he actually wanted to eat those oh-so-boring non-candies. I can still hear the snap and pop of the shell as he cracked them open in hands roughened by years of steel fabricating and farming.
Steel fabricating was the way my dad made a living. Farming was his way of life.
I didn’t have my big a-ha moment about this until a few years ago, when my mom and I were preparing his eulogy. We were sitting at the computer, surrounded by pictures of him—one showing him barefoot in the garden with his jeans rolled up to his calves, smiling wide as he held an enormous bowl brimming with freshly picked carrots, beets, and garlic—when she told me that feeding his family from the land was his main goal.
Of course it was. I knew this, but until she said those words, I didn’t really know it.
I think it’s because farming was just the way things were for us growing up. My dad planted an enormous garden (oh, how I hated the weeding). He built a barn and filled it with chickens, turkeys, cows. We drank fresh milk—sometimes squirted straight from the teat—ate double-yolk eggs, tender beef, and some ridiculously enormous turkeys.
Of course this was his life purpose. I know that now, and am thankful that I have his quiet, everyday actions to guide me in my life.
Thanks, Dad, and happy birthday.