Dave Blogs For His Dad’s Birthday

Dad’s birthday is today. Not that I need a special day to remember Dad. I think bout him all the time, remembering the highs and lows. I remember the boring things and the fun things. I remember how much I did not want to grow up to be like him, not realizing how amazing he was. Every man has that moment when they understand their father and if they’re lucky to have a good dad, they decide at that second that they want to be just like him. For me, there was no defining moment but it happened over the course of 1984, after I had moved out of the house. I was probably in a bar when I realized how much he loved his kids. All three of us equally and without end. Hopefully, I waited to call him until the next day. He was everything a guy should be.

Remember Spicolli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Remember his line about his father having an awesome set of tools? That he could fix anything? My dad would have kicked Spicolli’s dad’s ass. My dad could build, fix and talk about anything. And I was his helper for over 20 years. I held the flashlight and got the right tool for the right job. Hard to not learn anything with 20 years of on the job watching. Hard to not become part of the man I admire so much.

I called him late one night after taking the washing machine apart. It wouldn’t work so I just started taking it apart. No manual no computer. Dad didn’t do those.  I found the broken plastic thing and did not know what to do. He gave me the name of a guy who has those parts and a phone number. dad knew people and people liked him.  It worked for another 10 or 15 years.

I tried to raise my kids like my dad raised me. The kids all knew the difference between a Phillips and Standard screwdriver by the time they were 3. They all teethed on hammers. One day while mowing the lawn I found a rusted $23.00 drill bit in the grass. I started to yell for the boy, knowing that he must have been playing with it and left it out, when in mid thought I heard my dad laughing his loud infectious (and embarrassing) laugh. I picked it up and put it back where it belonged, in the tool box, next to several tools I had stolen from dad. I wonder how many times Dad had the same experience.

Dad knew the men at Sears. The men at Sears knew my dad. He could have spent his hard-earned money using the mail order coupons that Sears sent to him on a regular basis, but then who would he talk to. Sears made my dad very happy. My dad made Sears a lot of money.

As I grew up, we would call each other bragging about who got the latest and greatest tool. Birthdays and Christmas were easy; we just bought each other tools! I think in the end, I won the big contest. I have a Shopsmith Mark V model 510 multi-use work station, Dad was always trying to make up for that. He had me beat by sheer numbers, but I had the Shopsmith. The victory is bittersweet.

Dad died a few years ago and I miss him everyday. Good days, bad days, it doesn’t matter. I miss so much about him. The last tool dad brought over was this cutting tool. It is some sort of double-blade hand saw I took one look at it and told him I would never need it. He reminded me of the time I needed that 20-ton-hydraulic jack that I insisted I wouldn’t need. And then he reminded me that he wanted it back. I took the cutting tool to distract him because I was still using the 20-ton-jack.

Dad, this tool is supper cool. I wonder if they make one with a bigger motor. I bet the guys at Sears would know.

“The right tool for the right job.” -David Miller Sr.


One response to this post.

  1. Wonderful post! Got me a little teary-eyed, (OK, I am crying in the computer lab at school, whatever.) I think you are doing a really fantastic job of following in his footsteps, and your kids are INCREDIBLY lucky to have you as a dad 🙂


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