Have you ever known someone who had an impact on your life in so many ways that you are still realizing it? My father was one of those people. He lived through the depression as a kid often eating just milk and flour, he was beaten by his father and he left home as a young teenager. His only son died after a few hours of life and then his first wife, Carol, left him. Before dad could get all of his stuff from her, Carol's father used my dad's gun to kill himself. In WWII, my dad found himself in a military hospital where an unnecessary surgery was preformed on him causing him to lose one of his lungs. He was considered 80% disabled after that.
He had several things happen in his life that he could have chosen to be bitter and angry about. But I never saw that. He was a quiet, calm, happy person. Most of the above events I didn’t even hear about until after he died. He chose not to dwell on them. It was his sister that told me a lot about his hard life.
When I was in junior high and high school, I ran for different offices & cheerleader. I lost for 4 years straight before I won anything. My dad was the one who taught me to keep trying, to never give up, and be happy for the winner. He always told me I could do anything, and I believed him. He spent time with me building remote control boats, riding dirt bikes, going on motorcycle poker runs and teaching me to fix things.
All the little things in life that he helped me work through made a huge difference on how I handle all the big things that happen as an adult. When I was faced with the hard times, I worked though them because of what my dad taught me and because of his example. He was a man who easily could have been angry but chose to be happy. It wasn’t until last week that I realized I am who I am because of his example. I choose happiness at difficult times because he taught me to. I owe my dad a lot. Thanks dad, I miss you.
Dedicated to Keith Howard Christophersen
May 9, 1919 to Nov 9, 1982