Came home late every night
He never had too much to say
Too much was on his mind
I never really knew him
And now it seems so sad
Everything he gave to us took all he had”
My father is one of those people that takes a back seat and lets others take center stage while he enjoys the view from the back row. My dad is a brilliant human being who never brags about himself and never brings attention to his intelligence.
If he’s in the room and someone asks a random question, he’ll almost certainly know the answer. But he won’t say anything; instead, he’ll wait for others to reach the same conclusion before agreeing with you.
The only criticism I have of him is why didn’t some of his intelligence trickle down to me?? 😉
Today, my father is celebrating his official last day before retiring. He’s worked for the same company, Komatsu, since 1989, that relocated us from our small town in Ohio to the Chicago area all those years ago. My parents have moved two more times with Komatsu as my dad advanced up the corporate ladder (I’m bragging since he won’t), first to Peoria, Illinois and later to Chattanooga, Tennessee which is where their headquarters are located.
But my dad worked for a lot longer than that, from the day he graduated from high school in New Jersey from the jobs he certainly held before leaving the town he called home for the first 17 years of his life. My father was born in Dover, New Jersey, to a family of 12 children. He lost his mother when he was 14 years old and was placed in foster care when the father could not care for all the children. My father is a fighter, an inspiration, and a wonderful human being.
I am continually conscious of how fortunate we are to have gotten him in life’s coin toss.
In honor of my dad’s retirement, I am dedicating this blog post to him today. Even after all these years, I’m still not sure what he does! So I asked my mom- thanks mom! He works in the Engineering Department, where he was in charge of all the budgets.
But this I do know: over the course of his 34 year career at Komatsu, everyone he worked with, came in touch with, or interacted with, adored my father.
The feeling is mutual.
I’d like to introduce to you my dad. Not the person the world sees. This is how I see him.
For a few years, in addition to his full-time job, my father worked part time alongside me at Kohls during the holiday season. For fun. I enjoyed having him a few departments away, and so did my co-workers. I also enjoyed sharing those back-and-forth rides to and from work together.
I’ve enjoyed watching my dad grow into a grandfather to his grandchildren. I never got to meet either of my grandfathers, so I’m grateful that my girls have him.
My father is one of those individuals who doesn’t know a stranger. He’ll draw you in with anecdotes and small talk about topics he believes you’ll be interested in. He’s engaging and entertaining; loving and sincere. He’s also a rockstar when it comes to music and trivia facts. In fact, he taught me all there is to know about music and trivia.
From allergies to migraines to useless knowledge about the world’s largest ball of twine (Cawker City, Kansas), I am my father’s daughter. He (and my mom) instilled within me a passion for music that carried me through nine years of concert, symphonic, and marching band participation and lives within me to this day.
Even as an adult, I am transported back to my youth when I hear the musical artists that my father introduced me to in the early seventies. My earliest memories are of Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Carole King, not of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.
Dad, some could argue that your most important days are behind you now that you’re retired. I’m here to tell you that your most important work was done within the walls of your home, not at Komatsu.
I love you.
I think I’ll go put some Carole King on and shoot some hoops. Wanna join me? You’ve got the time now.