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Fathers have lasting impression on kids, good or bad

June 13, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Something deep inside keeps me from waiting under an awning in the rain while my husband gets the car.

I'm not just being nice. It's self preservation at its most potent.

If I were to wait for the car so I didn't get wet, I wouldn't even have to close my eyes to see my dead father. He would appear smack dab in front of me in his green work pants and off-white V-neck T-shirt, shake his head and sigh. Then he'd say, "You ain't sugar, you won't melt."

Oh, the days I got soaked because I couldn't get past those words.

Another one of Dad's sayings that seems to pop out of my mouth way too often is "You got it down, now kick it."

It's annoying, really, that's what it is. What he said to me so many years ago should be running around in the past, not finding a new foothold in the present. Still, if someone drops a pencil, a book, anything at all, I blurt out, "You got it down, now kick it."

When I say it, it just sounds smart-mouth. When he said it, it seemed funny. That may just be a child's perspective of a parent's actions.

With Father's Day coming next Sunday, we'd like to honor fathers across the area. We'll print in the lifestyle section short essays on "A Father's Love" - whatever that love means to you. Essays cannot be longer than 400 words, and we'd like to have a photo to go with the essay.

The essay and a photo can be sent to us through e-mail at or by bringing it up to the office. It's too late to use snail mail, because all this information must be in our hands by Tuesday noon to be put in the June 20 paper.

Your essay can include your favorite father story, what lessons he tried to teach you or what ideas he instilled. Everything falls under the theme, "A Father's Love."

Sometimes those stories are little more than memories. My dad played softball every summer. My sisters and I were never without a few cracked bats and a worn-out ball and never without the love of the game.

One of my favorite Dad stories, however, grew from the day he hauled me on his little Minneapolis Moline tractor out to the hay field that he'd cut the day before. It was up to me to rake the hay, even though I'd never driven a tractor before. He took me one trip around the field so I could see how to do it.

When we got back to the gate, he jumped off the slow-moving tractor, pulled the gate closed and walked off without so much as a backward glance. I was on top of the world, certainly on top of his trust meter. The raking went faster than expected, likely because I'd seen how he increased the speed of the tractor. I re-raked two or three furrows. No dad.

I wanted to be done. I slowed the tractor, then ran it into the fence, where it stalled and died. I walked to the barn, found Dad and told him I was done.

Bless his heart, he never once complained.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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