How fun, although challenging, to host and judge an essay writing contest. I want to thank everyone who participated and helped to promote this contest. I enjoyed reading these essays and “getting to know” your dads. I hope by writing and reflecting each of you experienced a new appreciation or warm welcomed memory of “Dad.”
And the winner is…
Judy M. Miller
Congratulations, Judy! Please enjoy Judy’s winning essay and my mini review which follows.
The Lessons of the Green Dad
By Judy M. Miller
We had one of the greenest, weed-free yards due to our ducks and the persistence of my father. Thanks to my father’s planning, each of my three brothers received a duckling via the Easter Bunny (I received a baby bunny that year, which lived to a ripe old age).
Dad was “green” decades before being green was a concept. As the ducklings grew into big bossy biting ducks, they became voracious insect and pest eaters. They also became the most prolific fertilizing machines in our small rural community.
My father followed in the wake of our ducks. His bright orange plastic child’s bucket served as his weed collector; it had to be emptied out repeatedly because of the success of the ducks fertilizer throughout our vast acreage. I would watch him, down on one knee, systematically digging out the dandelions, by the root, every spring and summer evening that he wasn’t traveling for work. He weeded with a wood-handled forked metal dandelion tool.
With his white fur-covered legs sticking out of his shorts, his business socks still on, and wearing white gym shoes, my father was an amusing site. I was not allowed to help, but I did observe and comment.
“Dad, why do you weed like this?”
“They won’t return, honey. You have to get them by the roots, see?” And he would show me the difference between weeding the right and wrong way. “You always do the best job. It pays off down the road.”
He never hurried. I did notice that there were fewer weeds as time went on.
I learned a lot from watching my father weed; something I carry today and pass along to my own children. Patience, perseverance, and doing something the right way has results.
And, yes, I weed like my father…
Judy’s essays and articles have appeared in parenting magazines. Her story, “Souls Speak”, is featured in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families: Stories That Celebrate a Special Gift of Love. “Healing the Roots of Our Grafted Tree” is featured in the upcoming Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? (EMK Press, September, 2009). She blogs at The International Mom’s Blog and Grown in My Heart.
I chose Judy’s essay because she followed the guidelines given: kept under the word limit, included a title and author bio and used beautiful language in her own unique “voice.” The image of Judy’s dad stayed with me (especially the business socks and white gym shoes) and I loved that she learned such a valuable life lesson from watching her dad perform such a small daily task. Congratulations, Judy!
Stayed tuned the rest of the week for the essays that received an honorable mention and remember to Honor Your Father in your own special way !