For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. ~ Genesis 18:19
I smell the sweet aroma of sawdust wafting through the air as my dad works on our playhouse in the backyard. I can’t help but walk further back in the yard towards him as he saws and hammers. I sit and watch, amazed that he can take random pieces of lumber and put them together in such a way as to build something my brother, sister and I will eventually spend much time enjoying. Although Daddy loved working with wood, his profession was entirely different, never letting him stay in one place at a time like carpentry did.
Daddy was a truck driver, gone much of my childhood delivering for Woolworth stores. When he occasionally drove that big rig home and parked it in our driveway, my siblings and I couldn’t wait to get out there and crawl over and under the cab and trailer. Sometimes we pretended to play house under the wheels of the trailer or dream of driving the enormous vehicle as we sat behind the wheel, churning it back and forth with excitement.
I enjoyed telling my classmates my dad was a truck driver. Their eyes would widen, impressed by his obvious driving skills because they had seen the movie Smoky and the Bandit and knew anyone who drove an 18 wheeler and talked on the CB radio was super-cool.
I loved listening to Daddy talk on the CB. “Breaker, breaker, one-nine,” he would say on many of our long road trips to see his family,” anybody out there got your ears on? This is Yankee-Mo looking to see if there are any bears out there tonight.”
Then we might hear someone respond with their handle saying, “Hey there Yankee-Mo. Just saw a bear in the woods taking pictures at mile marker 117.” That let my dad know to slow down because police were shooting radar ahead.
My dad’s handle, or CB name, was Yankee-Mo because he is originally from upstate New York and his last name is Limoges, which most people have trouble pronouncing correctly. The other drivers tagged him with it and it stuck.
Although I thought it was cool having a truck driver for a dad, it wasn’t cool having to tiptoe around the house during the day while he slept, afraid of waking daddy in the next room. Even though we tried so hard to keep quiet, sometimes it was impossible for us kids to remember or even realize we were making too much noise. On those numerous occasions when we forgot, we were quickly reminded when he came barreling out of the bedroom, disheveled and angry.
But when Daddy worked with wood in the garage or on something out in the yard, it seemed to give him a real sense of enjoyment. Maybe that’s why I liked being around him during those times. I might hand him some nails or his hammer or even hold something while he nailed it together. We never really talked much, me watching and him working. But there was sort of a bond there during those times.
After he finished building the big barn playhouse, my brother, sister and I had a great time pretending to live in the loft and driving the go cart around our yard like it was our car, parking it out front in case we needed to “run to the store”. I never really thought about how much Daddy must have enjoyed seeing us having so much fun out there until many years later. Using his hands to bring us pleasure must have made him proud.
Sometimes I’ll ride by our old house in the country and painstakingly look over the property, seeing how much has changed since we moved away all those years ago. But the big barn playhouse in the backyard has long been torn down.
The first time I rode by and realized it was gone I was appalled. I couldn’t understand how anyone could not want such an awesome structure in their backyard. Obviously, it didn’t have the same significance to them as it did to us kids and our dad. But we still have those special memories just the same. And I‘m sure there must be some pictures of it stashed away in one of my mom’s old photo boxes.
It’s funny how you don’t realize at the time how much something impacts you. As I think back on those times sitting with Daddy while he hammered and sawed, I realize that’s where I began to sketch out house plans. In my fourth grade mind, I saw them as a puzzle, trying to figure out how the rooms fit together. Years later I earned an Associates Degree in Architectural Engineering Technology and still enjoy putting together the puzzle pieces of house plans.
After following in my dad’s footsteps and joining the Army, my younger brother eventually came back home and went into the carpentry profession. He mostly builds custom cabinets and some furniture. I think my dad secretly would have loved such a profession, something that was more tangible than putting thousands of miles of road behind him each week. But it certainly paid the bills and we never lacked for anything we needed.
My baby sister became a jack-of-all trades, working in everything from fine china in Rich’s department store to the office of a trucking company before finally deciding to open her own embroidery and gift shop. She keeps my dad, who’s now retired, very busy with small construction projects for her store. I can see the enthusiasm in his eyes when he is given the opportunity to create something to display her wares.
Reflecting on all of this today, I recognize the impact Daddy had on me and my siblings and appreciate the many sweet experiences we had growing up, even to the point of influencing our careers. So today, I would like to recognize my Daddy, Don Limoges, and say thank you for influencing me for good. I love you and wish you a blessed Father’s Day!
I can’t let this special day pass without saying what wonderful fathers my husband, John, and father-in-law, Bob Roper, are as well. All three of you have been a special blessing to me and our children. Happy Father’s Day!
In what good ways has your father influenced you?
Be sure to let him know this Father’s Day!