Laura wrote : “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
Pa Ingalls taught his children a great many lessons on living a good life. He was a man of character and fortitude and, even though he made some wrong decisions and the family struggled at times, these lessons are echoed in Laura’s writings and such a legacy, I am sure, is what would’ve made her Pa proudest.
When I think of my dad, I feel a mixture of emotions warring inside me, each trying to surface first, but waiting for me to guide it on its way. There is love, respect, pride, admiration, fear, sadness, regret… he wasn’t perfect but I don’t dwell much on negatives. Negativity makes you feel depressed and if there is one thing I learnt from my dad it is “positivity helps to grow your mind because you give it room for improvement”. His famous saying? “Put it in the scale and see what weighs heaviest. If the negativity weighs more, you have to stop and re-evaluate and come up with a plan. Don’t be satisfied with 50/50. Let the good outweigh the bad.”
I loved my dad so much. I remember the days when he went away on business trips and I missed him terribly. I waited in the driveway until his car pulled in and ran to him, throwing my arms around him and saying “hello Pa”. Why mention this? Because my dad wasn’t the kind of dad that you hugged a lot. He just wasn’t. But I hugged him nonetheless and he hugged back which tells me that even though I hugged a lot in later years, I should’ve started earlier. That is one regret I have.
I respected and admired him immensely… for his worldly knowledge and incredible mind even though he finished school at age 15 and started working. For being well-spoken as a church minister, addressing people at work meetings, being charming in general. For his wealth of insight acquired through reading … science fiction, biblical, you name it. For his open-mindedness and not berating my wayward thinking in a “world” bound by doctrinal walls.
I was proud of him. When I was a little girl, he worked as a manager at a lime factory and always came home “very white”. His hair and eyebrows were covered in lime dust. One year, he arranged it that a group of my school mates visit the factory for a presentation and tour and all the girls (I was in a girls school) said “wow, your dad is so handsome”. 😀
He was a disciplinarian. Many is the time that I “felt” his discipline. In those days, it happened. And I can tell you, we are not worse off for being on the receiving end of a hiding. My father wasn’t unjust. It hurt and we feared those hidings but all in all we were better behaved, that’s a fact. We were taught to say yes, please and thank you, to respect our elders and teachers and our mother and NEVER tell lies… (When you have to bring up 5 children, discipline is needed …)
I feel sadness because I didn’t see him again after I moved to the USA. In 2008 Ken met him (very thankful for that), and later that year I came to the USA and on advice of our lawyer, couldn’t leave until we were married and all my documentation was in order. My dad passed away and I couldn’t go to his funeral 😦
How many hours did I spend with him debating, serious discussions about God and after-life and creation and science, crying about injustices, ranting and raving in general… how many hours did we sit in silence and read, or looked at the ocean, precious times of doing the cryptic clue crossword puzzles, picking his brain, watching him clean out his pipe and filling it with tobacco… listening to his favorite Maria Callas with his eyes closed…
He wasn’t perfect, but I loved him because he cared about my well-being as his daughter, as a “being” in the world, wanting only that which was good for me. He sometimes told me he was proud of me, and I cherish that. I am proud to be able to say that I had a dad who was my role-model and mentor. Happy Father’s Day wherever you are ❤