Monday, March 28, 2011
My super duper dad
Hi there RePlayGround blog readers. I’m dedicating this blog post to my awesome dad. He recently passed away due to a heart attack and he was a super duper awesome guy. He greatly influenced the person I am and especially influenced my career. I’ll really really really miss him (there’s not enough space to add the number of really’s I’d like to list), but I’m finding comfort in knowing just how many lives he’s touched in his life, including my own.
As a kid I grew up creating 4-H projects for my county fair in mid-Michigan. My dad was the 4-H agent of my county, so my brother and I always joked that 4-H was a requirement if you lived in our house. In 4-H I learned everything from basket weaving to sewing to baking to a whole lot more. I attribute a lot of the design skills I frequently use today to my 4-H days.
Even as I flip through my new book, I can see that a lot of the projects were inspired by 4-H projects that I did as a kid with a new, upcycled spin – weaving baskets now with plastic bags, sewing a new skirt from old t-shirts, an origami folded picture frame made from old maps. I’m happy that I was able to send my parents a finished copy of my new book just the week before my father passed away. My mom said that when they got it, my dad sat down and looked through every single page of the book and he was really really proud.
My dad also taught me a great deal about gardening and locally grown food. My dad always planted way too many vegetables in our summer garden. Little did we know that that excess would someday become my parents’ career. When I was about 8 years old my family started taking our excess produce to the farmers market and selling it on the weekends. With the money made from those first few weeks, my brother and I bought an Intellivision (kinda like an Atari if you’re from that era) game system. This not only taught me about appreciating good food, it also taught me about entrepreneurship and growing a business. About 15 years after that Intellivision purchase, my parents both retired from their day jobs and grew their farm into quite the business. I would never call them retired since the farm required more than full-time work in the summer. It was something they really enjoyed doing together and just one more way that they added to their community.
I know my dad especially liked talking to people at the market and give them tips on how to keep their veggies fresh, how to keep fend off garden critters, and just general plant-based knowledge.
I’m already missing him an unmeasurable amount, but recognizing his influence on my life and others helps me to see the impact he had during his 67 years here. And while there will never be beans or tomatoes that will quite measure up to the ones he grew, I'll still remember those bean-picking days where he would be sharing his words of wisdom as we plucked green and yellow varieties off of the plants. I may not be taking over the garden business, but I've certainly taken parts of what he taught me and reinvented it into my own business of reuse and remaking. And those are the best parts.