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Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Heroic Dad: A Facebook Memory

Originally posted to Facebook December 10, 2016

Dad more-or-less in those days

Thinking of my dad this December morning.

D-Boy broke a pedal on his bike in one of his many spills, and scuffed up the other one pretty bad. They needed to be replaced, so I bought a new pair, but I don't have any open-end wrenches (and my one big crescent is too thick to fit in the space).

So Vic, the guard across the street, brought his wrenches over to do it for me. As I watched him try to thread the right pedal, I realized he must have the wrong one--left bike pedals are reverse-threaded to keep them from unscrewing. I picked up the other pedal and sure enough, there was an "R" on the end of the spindle; he was trying to put the left pedal on the right side!

As I continued to watch, I asked myself, "How did I know that?" and I realized I must have learned it from Dad.

Then a flood of memory came. As I told Vic and D-Boy: When I was in my grade school years, after Thanksgiving Dad would go to "the plant" for the usual workday (in those days on his feet much of the day, before he got a "desk job"), come home for a quick dinner, and then head off to the local toy store, where he assembled bicycles in the back room for people who couldn't (or didn't want to) do it themselves (at an extra charge by the store, of course).

In this way, he raised the extra $$$ so we could have a better Christmas.

For most of my life, when I have thought of "sacrifice," I haven't really thought of the grand gestures that we romanticize in literature and film; I've thought of the millions or billions of these small, extraordinary acts that people like my Dad and Mom performed to make the lives of their kids (and others' kids, like with the Scouts and the PTA) a little better.

Now that Lila and I are responsible for a kid, I "get it" in a whole new way.

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