Feeling Gratitude on Father's Day

We're celebrating all the great fathers out there by sharing a heartfelt letter from a Be Vivid You guest writer. We think it captures the sentiment of Father's Day perfectly and hope it touches you as it did us. Thank you to all the fathers!

grandpa with his boys on the farm 1940s

Grandpa on the farm with his three boys; the writer's father is the middle son.



We have never met and I really don’t think of you that often. Recently, however, I can’t get you out of my mind. You see, everyone down here keeps talking about privilege. They tell me, my wife and my children that we are privileged. They tell us that we are lucky and that we were born with benefits that other people don’t have. I don’t disagree. I do feel privileged. I see my smart, beautiful wife and I know I am lucky. I see my six wonderful, healthy, brilliant children and I know I hit the lottery. But something doesn’t feel right, and so I keep thinking of you. 

From all accounts, you were one tough dude. You didn’t say much, but when you did people listened. I have images burned into my memory so vivid I think I was there. I can see you sitting in the old barn, your barefoot children standing next to you in hand-me-down rags, just happy to be near you. I see you waking up at 5 AM and finishing your day at 10 PM. I have traveled the rock strewn pasture you drove through for 3 hours every week to reach Sunday Mass. I see you making your boys feed the cattle before school and them being mocked later in the day for smelling like manure. It had to frustrate them that they could never eat beef from those same cattle because you wouldn’t allow your family to eat your only profits. They would have to hunt for their food. Perhaps my favorite story relates to my own wild-eyed father. You had a simple rule: No curfew, but for each hour you stayed out past 10 you had to wake up one hour earlier. I was lucky enough to hear his brothers laugh and tell stories of how they could hear you pull Dad out of bed. And then cackle even louder as they relayed the sound of his head bouncing off each step as you pulled him down to breakfast. 

Speaking of which, your son Cliff turned out great. After you passed he returned home to run the farm with Uncle Larry. It is a testament to you how those two grew that business, and they did it the right way. They worked their asses off, used their kids as cheap labor and even in hard times stayed honest to their bones. They always took care of the land they rented from others like it was land they owned. I take that back--they treated it better. They always put sharecropped grain in the bin before their own and Dad always gave them the best grain prices. Dad and Larry made up for it with their own land by just working smarter and harder. 

I still see in Dad’s eyes that he wants to make you proud. I know you would be. He treats Mom like a princess and he gives enough love to his children and grandchildren to last them ten lifetimes. Dad is energy personified; I think his DNA just needed to let off some steam during those late nights as a young man. Perhaps his greatest trait, however, is how excited he gets by other people’s success. He just loves seeing passion, effort and honesty rewarded. Oh, and he always gets to Church on time.

Privileged. Yes, I am privileged. I am privileged to have had you as a Grandfather. I am privileged to have had such a wonderful role model in Dad. I am also afraid. I am afraid that I don’t have it in me to be what you and Dad were. I try with my children, my family, but it is hard. I wonder if my years of privilege have made me weak. I fear I am breaking the foundation that you and Dad built. How do you accomplish it in this confusing world? 

I feel your spirit dwelling in my heart and I resolve to try harder. 


Happy Father's Day Grandpa

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