Dad, the Man of Vision
Today's post is the second in a four part tribute. I will be posting the other parts in the coming days. To read the Tribute in its entirety, go to http://home.earthlink.net/~viquidill/landscapetribute.pdf
Dad had a way of talking about the future. He had a way of spending time with you, making you feel that you were the most important part of the world at that very moment. His actions and his manner communicated that you had great value. He saw not only your present usefulness, but your future value as well.
I remember dad as always having a bunch of projects going. He liked to build big structures, using stones, brick and concrete. We moved a lot. With every new house, dad saw a fresh opportunity to make a permanent structure. He built stone walls to hold back hills. He built brick walls to define flower beds. We always had the best sand pile in the neighborhood. Sometimes dad’s mortar hardened with plastic dinosaur heads sticking out of the walls.
Once, when he was finishing a wrought iron fence on top of one of his famous walls, dad let me hang around and help him with his work. He told me I had an important job to do. He gave me a small clean paint brush. He gave me an old coffee can filled with clear turpentine and told me it was primer. I had no idea what primer was but dad said the word with a very serious face. He gave me clear instructions to use the brush and “primer” to make the fence ready for the next coat of paint. This was an important job, I could tell just by the look in dad’s eyes. That look said that I was up to the job.
I felt like a skilled craftsman as I concentrated on my solemn duty. My dad trusts me. I can do this. I have value. Somewhere inside me, a sleeping artist/engineer began to awaken. Dad had set the alarm clock.
Dad had a way of talking about the future as though good things were already happening. “If” was not in his vocabulary. Dad always said “when.”
It seemed like at least once a year, we would visit dad’s Alma Mater, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, VPI it was called back then. Dad would walk around the grounds of the school, pointing out the academic buildings, saying “Viqui, here’s McBryde Hall, where you’ll take Math.” As we pass the quads, dad would point to the dormitory buildings, whispering “That’s Eggleston. It was a men’s dorm when I slept there but now it’s a women’s dorm where you’ll sleep.”
Again, I found myself believing, sharing the vision. I can do this. I’m already here. These were lessons that shaped my view of myself.