Father’s Day is just around the corner and it’s a great time to recognize the “plumbing tips” our fathers taught us. Fathers often fall short on the credits they deserve.

Dad was the head of our family. We all had our rolls. He was the dad, and I was the son that obeyed him. He didn’t have to say please or ask me what I thought. Back in the good old days’ children didn’t question authority.

Although I respected dad for his toughness, he also maintained a balance of caring. His love was shown naturally in many ways. One way was by teaching me to be a man so I could provide for my family also someday. I followed him around on the farm like a lost puppy as he taught me various trades and skills. Dad was always entertaining as he kept our farm in operation.

Dad could do it all. I only remember a few times we hired tradesmen to do a special task. Dad’s natural abilities as a handyman were good for me because I was a “Jack of all trades apprentice” with a thirst to learn how to do as much as possible.

Dad learned carpentry at an early age as skills were passed on to him too. He built a barn with his father using only hand tools. This was before battery drills or labor savings devises; we use today like skill saws.

Our farm had a good supply of used lumber, and it was stored in a barn to keep it dry. It seemed we recycled before the word was invented.

Dad believed in using plenty of nails and an early task for me was to straighten nails for him after they were pulled from used lumber. I quickly learned not to hit the wrong nail (fingernail).

Dad was a self-taught mechanic that rebuilt our farm equipment when it broke down. It may have been older equipment, but it was paid for and in great shape. Dad replaced challenging parts like shafts, gears, or even large bearings. He often welded broken equipment and then painted it to look like new. Everything was well lubricated and always ready to use.

On Sunday we went to church as a family. We always arrived early at all events we attended, and church was no exception. We sat in the same pew every Sunday. After church we had a nice lunch at home and typically relaxed by visiting my grandparents or occasionally went fishing.

In addition to various trade skills, dad taught me how to scoop grain, mow, paint, and the list goes on. Although those skills all have value, some of the most important lessons were people skills that are difficult to measure or understand.

Dad taught me basic theories like hard work is OK and not to shy away from it. He also taught me to take pride in the finished product as he kept our farm in excellent condition. Crop rows were planted straight. Sunflowers, Musk Thistle, and other weeds were meticulously removed. Our ¼ mile lane was kept smooth and covered with gravel. Ditches were always mowed. His pride ran deep.

It’s really difficult to fully understand what we learned from our parents until we step back and look at the big picture. Our upbringing is obviously important, and it starts with them.

So what does this have to do with “plumbing tips”? A “plumbing tip” can tell us how to install or service plumbing, or it can be a basic life skill that helps us every day; skills that will carry us through adversity. Those skills can put life in perspective to keep us calm when simple plumbing problems occur, like a water pipe that bursts flood our home, or a sewer backs up and ruins material possession. It’s a stretch, but these are basic “plumbing tips”.

I apologize this article is a little self-serving as I thank and recognize my parents for all they gave me. It’s important to show appreciation for them being there every step of the way. They still give me strength today.

As a father of three wonderful daughters, I also realize the biggest thanks is to see our kids do well in life. I do not need Father’s Day presents or any other recognition. Their actions say it all.

I promise the next plumbing article will be more about plumbing. Until then, let’s make sure all the dads out there have a Happy Father’s Day!!!!

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