It was a sunny afternoon, and I was helping my Dad with a project; he did woodwork / carpentry as a hobby sometimes, and I was sanding something for him. I don’t remember specifically what it was, but I remember at the end, when the piece was finished, something was off.
We had some difficulty, but he knew how to fix it.
“But it’s going to take longer,” he said.
I looked at him.
“I’m going to do it the faster way,” he said.
I realized then that he was slowing down; he never considered doing anything less than a quality job, in spite of the problems.
I admit I was surprised, and as much as I hated these projects (because I’m better at writing than woodworking) and wanted to finish this, I said to him:
“That’s not your style.”
He looked at me; it was his turn to be surprised.
“Do it the right way,” I said. “If you take the shortcut, all you’re going to do is take it apart later and do it the right way anyway. I’m here to help you, so just do it now.”
He smiled, and we fixed the problem the right way, and he was happy with the work.
He recounted that story to other people for years afterward, pleased that I was there to admonish him to stick to the very principles he taught me about working, whatever the job, and to do it with a sense of pride and excellence.
I was glad we had that time, because I discovered too that sometimes, as much as we need our parents, they need us too.
I love you, Dad.
It’s been twelve years now since you took your final journey.
“I’ll see you when I get there.”