You taught me how to hammer a nail. Install drywall. Cut miter joints and install trim. I knew how to use a drill before I could drive. Your motto was, "Why pay for it if you can build it?" I'm so glad I got to share with you my most recent project - even if you did laugh at me for using a bowl to make my corners, instead of your proper-angle-measurement method!
I remember winter weekends at the farm. Sledding down the big hill, you always took pity on us and towed our sleds back up the hill with your Arctic Cat so our bodies didn't tire out before our appetite for fun did. Learning how to tap a maple tree - making toffee in the snow - drinking sap for weeks later. I still have the last bottle of maple syrup you gave me in the fridge. You're right - it is so much better than Aunt Jemima.
I remember summers spent in and out of the pool. BBQ'd lunches and dinners. Learning to swim. Learning to catch a baseball. Learning to fish. I was never really any good, but I was always happy to join in on the fun with you and Derek.
You introduced me to Elvis. Roy Orbison. John Fogerty. I remember dancing silly sock hop dances in our basement rec room while the greatest hits of the '50's played on the record player.
You taught me how to train a dog. You taught me how to shoot a gun. You taught me how to plant a vegetable garden. To use a Q-tip to fertilize the cucumber plant so the bounty was plentiful. No, I didn't do that this year. Yes, I'm sure that's why my cucumber plants sucked.
So many things learned and I never said thank you. Perhaps that's the last lesson.
You died last Tuesday and you will be dearly missed.