My dad wasn’t a great athlete, but he was an amazing one.
When he was younger, he could walk on his hands from one end of the Tabor gym to the other.
I can remember playing a lot of football and baseball in the backyard with my dad. I don’t think he had time, but he made time.
I remember my mom would not be happy to see me and my friends tromping through her beautiful flower garden to chase a wayward throw, but my dad’s attitude was, “Let the boys play. You can always have more flowers later when the boys have grown up and stopped playing.”
He helped coach youth baseball for a number of years while I was growing up.
Dad was on a bowling team in a league at Trail Lanes years ago.
He coached a slow-pitch softball team back in the day when Hillsboro had 10-12 teams playing. He was the pitcher of the Kleinsasser Tomatoes, and he had an eclectic mix of high school-age kids, Tabor athletes and Tabor faculty/staff on his team. The team won more than its share of championships.
Somehow he was among the better hitters in the league, even though it looked like he was chopping wood the way he swung at some bad pitches.
I don’t remember a lot about dad’s exploits on the water, except to say he could water-ski quite well. Fishing wasn’t his thing. There wasn’t enough action and he had to sit still too long.
When he was in his 60s, dad played on the faculty intramural basketball team and ran in marathons. He even finished in the top third of all runners in the New York City marathon when he was 60.
One year he walked and jogged the 55-60 miles from Hillsboro to Hutchinson to raise money for the MCC Sale.
I don’t remember how many times he ran the 13-mile road before it was renamed Indigo Road.
Dad probably cranked more homemade ice cream by hand than anyone in the history of Hillsboro. He did it year-round, too, in all kinds of weather, and dished it out generously to so many college kids and others.
Dad took me and many of my friends to ski in Colorado. He would ski with reckless abandon, but he would always get up after his latest fall and laugh at his mishap.
The house my sister and I grew up in should have had a revolving door, because college kids were always coming and going. Our home was everybody’s home. Our stuff was everybody’s stuff.
He genuinely cared about others and did whatever he could to lend a hand.
Dad helped shingle houses, and more than a few college-age kids stood amazed as he worked. They couldn’t believe his drive and non-stop work ethic, even as he was in his 60s and 70s.
After 30 or so years at Tabor, dad was active in retirement, mowing and trimming for the city for about 10 years, working for Olde Towne Restaurant, and escorting many people around the United States and Canada for Prudent Tours.
He is a modern-day example of what James talked about in the New Testament, “Faith without works is dead.”
Dad was active in church, serving a couple of churches as a pastor, but mostly he loved others through service.
He also actively served the community for decades as a member of Lions Club.
Dad was active. Dad was strong. He seemed invincible.
Of course, he’s not. He is human after all, and age eventually took its toll.
Dad is 90 now and lives in Salem Home. After suffering a stroke and caring for his wife, who has dementia, he had no choice but to slow down.
His balance isn’t what it used to be, so he uses a walker.
It’s not easy watching someone I love and someone who’s always loved me have no choice but to slow down.
It’s certainly not his style. His style was helping others. Now he has to let others help him.
The golden years aren’t as golden as they used to be. I just hope the memories still are.