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Thanks, Dad

This weekend I was once again privileged to participate in Gateway Con, a conference and convention for writers held in St. Louis. The annual event is presented by the St. Louis Writers Guild and co-sponsored by many notable local organizations, including the one I belong to: Sisters in Crime. To first address the obvious elephant in the room: yes, the Sisters allow a few of us Misters to hang out with them.

The conference was great. Rubbing elbows and exchanging thoughts with fellow writers is always enjoyable. The workshops and organized sessions proved beneficial to all who sat in. Attendees who chose the option also had the opportunity to pitch their projects to numerous agents from across the country. To the writers who decided to take that next step, I wish you much success.

Anyone unable to attend Gateway Con this year but interested in learning about next years’ event can keep updated by checking out the St. Louis Writers Guild website: stlwritersguild.org

Because today is Fathers’ Day, I’m going to relax from an otherwise busy weekend and enjoy my day with family. Before I do, I’d like to revisit a slightly massaged post from February 2017 that seemed apropos for the occasion.

Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks, Dad

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But what if something does break? Do you call the plumber, the carpenter, the electrician, or the auto mechanic?

When I was growing up in St. Louis during the 1950s and 60s, if anything inside or outside our house was broken or out of order, we fixed it ourselves. Whether it was a shattered pane of glass or a knocking engine in the family car, we’d tackle it. My brothers and I were taught that if an item was man made, we could analyze its assembly and repair it ourselves – for a lot less money.

The Tim Allen attitude in our family was hereditary, having been handed down through several generations. My great-grandfather was the first to exhibit the paternal “fix-it” gene when he established the Miller Lightening Rod Company in St. Louis, during the mid-1800s. By the time Granddad took over the business had expanded to become a complete manufacturing facility, relying on only raw materials.

My father was raised in that plant. Whether sweating by blistering hot forges that pounded iron blanks into decorative rods to adorn the tops of houses and buildings, dangling from rooftops installing the completed product, or keeping the books, his hands-on education exposed him to every aspect of the company and its function. Dad’s total involvement not only gave him experience, but also taught him self-confidence. He came to realize that, regardless the task, he could comprehend and perform most any job and be proficient in each one.

Dad maintained that state of mind throughout his life and conveyed it to my two brothers and me. None of us were held back by the feel of grease and oil on our hands (or clothes), the smell of molten metal liquefied by a welder, or the occasional black and blue thumb if our hammer missed a nail. When it came to constructing or repairing most anything, we didn’t ask “How?”  Instead, we reviewed what it would take to accomplish a job, then jumped into the task.

During my span of employment, I was involved in numerous occupations, including auto technician, instructor, bus driver, machinist/designer, and customer service representative. Each new position brought new challenges to conquer, often where I’d had no prior experience. The “I can do it” attitude that I acquired from my father not only allowed me to learn and perform my duties well, but to excel at them.

As a home owner, I’ve also encountered my share of repair and remodeling chores.  But because of the philosophy I learned as a youth, renovations varying from plumbing to carpentry are dispatched without fear. Although my outlook regarding home repairs remains “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” thanks to my father, I’m not overwhelmed when something does fail. A bit ticked off, maybe, but not overwhelmed. Dad instilled within me a trait that has helped me persevere throughout all of my life. His attribute also is one that I’m proud to observe has continued with my sons. There is very little that they won’t tackle on their own. For that simple gift I am forever grateful.

Thanks, Dad

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