Sunday, June 15, 2008

It Was Probably A Lot Warmer In There, Too

Whenever my dad came to my high school soccer games, he wouldn't sit in the stands with the other parents. He'd stay in his car and do paperwork.

That used to really bug me. Being different wasn't cool in high school, and that included my folks being different. Why couldn't he just sit in the stands like everybody else?

It never occurred to me that if he didn't multitask by doing his paperwork at the game he wouldn't have had time to come at all. My dad started his own business selling and servicing industrial scales when I was in second grade. He HAD to make sure things like the paperwork got done.

He wanted to name the company Yankee Scale, but someone advised him that you wanted to show up early in the Yellow Pages listings so Action Scale it was. My mom worked with him, too. That provided flexibility for her to be home when we finished school each day and over summer vacation -- something else I just sort of took for granted.

He'd sometimes take me along with him on business trips. Not glamorous golf outings in warm locales -- 4 1/2-hour drives to places like Ogdensburg and Massena in the dead of winter for repair calls. But it was a chance for us to spend time together.

He never pressured me to take over the family business, but there was always work I could do if I needed to earn some extra money. From cleaning the bathrooms to organizing the parts lab to crawling around cleaning truck scale pits. Action Scale put food on our table and a roof over our heads, not to mention putting Dawn and I both through college.

Like I've written before, my dad passed away back in 1998. My mom eventually sold the business. All that's probably left of Action Scale now is a polo shirt and a couple of screwdrivers she sent me when she moved away from Albany a few years later.

I don't believe he enjoyed trying to do paperwork on a clipboard propped up on his steering wheel while he watched us get pummeled by Shenendahowa. And I don't believe I ever thanked him enough for doing it.

Happy Father's Day, dad. And thanks for being there.

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