I love ice cream. I LOVE ICE CREAM. I love ice cream. J’aime la creme glacee. (I threw in the French for good measure.) According to family legend, my dad fed me my first ice cream when I was 6 weeks old (until my mother caught him and stopped the fun). Among the many things I inherited from my father’s gene pool was a love of ice cream and a love of simplicity.
I’ve learned some of my greatest lessons from my father: “Everyone is a liar and a thief” would be the first thing that comes to mind. Oh, how it used to burn me up when Dad would say that. “Not everyone, Daddy. You’re not,” I would protest. As I grew older, I realized that Daddy was trying to drum some common sense and wisdom into an impressionable and GULLIBLE daughter. (And let’s not discuss who was right and who was wrong on that conversation topic, because if you’ve watched the news lately…)
I’ve learned GENEROSITY from my dad. This was the man that would scrimp and save to be able to afford the $5 pricetag on a school fieldtrip, and then give me another $5 just in case someone else didn’t have the money. Everyone in my class had more money than us, or so it seemed. That man knew the value of a dollar, because he had to work HARD to earn that dollar and then watch huge chunks of it go to the government for the “less fortunate.” Yet, he never considered himself among those “less fortunate.”
From my dad, I’ve learned to ENJOY HARD WORK. You know, when you cut wood for heat, you heat yourself twice – once in the cutting and later in the furnace. When I was a kid, I decided I WAS NOT going to be (or marry) a farmer like my dad. I wanted to be a city gal – no animals to take care of, no wood furnace, no big lawns to mow, and no tedious work like brush hogging to fill the summer days. As I’ve
aged gotten older, I have voluntarily moved out onto a farm, bought a woodburning furnace, started a (HUGE) garden, raised multiple flocks of chickens, and own a yard that makes his lawn look like a postage stamp. But I’ve also learned that I love the sweat and feeling of strength and vitality that comes with hard work. I like the way my hands can be busy accomplishing one hard chore while my mind is free to wander and philosophize about life, just like my dad enjoys doing on the brush hog all these years.
Dad has taught me not to make life more complicated than it is. His ability to see life as black and white is a gift. As I am trying to articulate whatever situation or problem that has arisen, he will invariably point me to the solution with the words, “It’s simple…”, and, just like that, it is.
Most importantly, Dad has taught me CONTENTEDNESS. He once said, “I love ice cream. If there’s anything out there in the world that is better than ice cream, I don’t want to know about it.” It has taken me YEARS to appreciate the truth behind that statement, and the more I embrace simplicity and contentedness, the more I enjoy life.
So, in honor of my father on Father’s Day, I wish you all a Simple bowl of ice cream.
I love you, Dad.
P.S. I did not write this post in lieu of a Father’s Day card for my father. Whether or not I mailed my father a Father’s Day card on time is beside the point.
It all began in a galaxy far, far away…actually college days. I earned money by cleaning houses. As I dusted knicknack after knicknack, I thought how much money my employees would save if they would just get rid of SO MANY DECORATIONS!! From that time on, before I bought (or accepted for free) an item, I would look at it with the idea “How difficult will it be to clean this thing?” Well, that thought alone will steer you away from country/victorian styles (think silk flowers, uggh!!!) and toward modern/minimalistic lines (easy to dust!!!)
So, no silk flowers for me (or blue-ribboned geese either – does anyone else remember those ugly things?) No siree, I filled my house with straight lined wood furniture, elegant black picture frames, and books – lots of books. Then one day, I heard myself complain for the 43rd day in a row that I could not keep up with my dusting. And then came the AHA moment – no matter how easy an item is to dust, there is still a limited amount of time to do that dusting. Plus, I have a few other hobbies I prefer to chase – reading, gardening, homeschooling (not really a hobby), piano playing, etc. That was when I came across this quote on the internet (which has taken me about 220 words to summarize)
If you don’t have it you don’t have to dust it. If you do have to have it, hide it and you still don’t have to dust it.”
My goal was to get rid of everything that I didn’t need or that did not contribute to my happiness. Having held yardsales before, I knew I didn’t have a lot of things to get rid of this time, but I was determined that this one was the last one.
I psyched myself up by reading tons of minimalist blogs, and then went through my house collecting items that I could live without. Two weeks later, I had a TRAILER LOAD of items neatly tagged and ready to go. After rising at 5:30 on a Saturday to load myself, my two children, AND my niece and nephew, I arrived at the yardsale location full of excitement. It was going to be a GREAT day, I was going to make a LOT of money, and life would be simpler because I FINALLY got rid of all the excess in my life.
10 hours later…
I load up the same four children, plus one other child (how did I collect another one?), PLUS two bags of new stuff (junk?) I had purchased from the other yardsellers, and pocketed my measly $48, minus $7 for lunch and $5 for the newspaper ad.
Probably not the best way to simplify my life…
Oh well, there is always tomorrow. And hey, I DO have less to dust.