Gifts My Father Gave Me

Gifts My Father Gave Me

Good Earthkeeping

By Tasha Halpert

Gifts My Father Gave Me

It’s time to celebrate fathers, and I have been thinking about my dad and how special he was to me, and also to the many people who appreciated his witty behavior. He loved to be entertaining as well as to entertain. Cocktail parties were his chief delight and he gave them often.

He was a generous person. One memory I have is of him sitting by the living room fireplace at Christmas time, wrapping the generous gifts he gave to the gardeners and caretakers of the estates he did business with. He was a horticulturist by nature, like his grandfather, and professionally, an arborist. He truly enjoyed his work and he was very good at it, able to size up a landscape and improve the views from the windows of the any home he was hired to work for.

One special gift he gave me was a love of trees plus the ability to spot what they might need done to improve them. He often took me with him, especially in the summer, when he drove around either supervising his men where they were working or estimating the work to be done for those who had hired him and the company he worked for. As I travel the roads of my town and its neighbors, to this day, I notice trees and find myself thinking of their needs.

He loved flowers and grew beautiful roses. I wish I had inherited that ability. My efforts to grow them have not met with success. I did inherit his love for flowers, buying them to bring their loveliness into my home when I can. My mother once told me that when they were newly married and he was an aspiring playwright, Daddy would spend the grocery money on flowers leaving them forced to have oatmeal to eat for supper. On special occasions, he would often provide my mother and me with corsages. She would get an orchid, while I got a fragrant gardenia, which I loved.

Above all, he was generous with his time and energy, serving in a volunteer capacity as treasurer to a variety of local organizations. He read for the blind on a local radio station, and I’m sure did other kind actions I never knew about. He was deeply religious, attended his Episcopalian church every Sunday, and took us to services on Christmas and Easter, which I loved, another significant gift.

No one is perfect. Neither was he. But the gifts he gave me far outweigh any negative aspects of his character. He set me an important example of the importance of being of service that has increasingly guided my life. Working on behalf of the greater good is what I call it. It’s about showing up for a need. Whether caring for the landscape or for the world at large, my father set a fine example.

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