by jexmas on February 6, 2014

“Measure twice, cut once,” my father used to say with his characteristic affability. My father was full of all sorts of aphorisms. It was one of the qualities I loved about him. When I was a little girl, he would tousle my hair and call me “feller-me-dad,” as if I was a boy. I’m sure I became a tomboy in large part to please him, since there was only me, my sister and my mother in our immediate family and he wanted to teach a child how to be a boy, so I obliged with pleasure back then. 

He built things in the garage and, after a morning of measuring pieces of wood twice, cutting each one once into precise pieces and then putting the pieces together to make one of the many household objects my mother requested of him, he would stroll into the kitchen with his sleeves rolled up, sawdust clinging to the rough fibers in his shirts, and pronounce “I could eat a horse and chase the rider.” My mother would make him one of her sandwiches and he would wash it down with an icy cold beer. “That barely touched the sides,” he would say before heading back to the garage and his projects.

My father’s real job was flying aircraft. He was a pilot. He loved classical music and he could recite poetry. So I know he was an intelligent man. But I am left with a feeling of dismay to understand I did not really know him at all as an emotional man and, in fact, could not get the measure of him in that regard once, let alone twice.

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