Daddy, Thank You for Teaching Me to Not Need a Man


Daddy, thank you for teaching me to not need a man. I know this may sound strange as I’m married to one! What I mean is, my daddy taught me how to take care of things, which are usually deemed a man’s task. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a tomboy, as I was too cautious. But I definitely got dirty in the garage and outside with my dad.

My dad taught me the name of every tool he had and how to use it. I’ll never forget the smell of that toolbox opening filled with craftsman screwdrivers and wrenches. He had been a carpenter as a young man before becoming a mail carrier. I would always try and wear his old tool belt which hung on the same hook in the garage. I’d open his chalk line and get blue chalk dust everywhere. He had an older square and ruler that folded out instead of using measuring tape.

We would watch Old Yankee Workshop, New Yankee Workshop, This Old House, and Home Time before HGTV shows, plus we didn’t have cable. I wanted every tool they used in a huge garage with a workshop. I dreamed of being able to build anything I wanted when I grew up. I would save articles from magazines for my dream house in an accordion folder.

One day my dad asked me to look at the newspaper and a college degree that the college I was attending had. I went the next day and changed my degree to Construction Management which was far different from my two original majors (Criminal Justice and Accounting). That is a story I tell often as so many ask why a woman is in a male dominated field of work. I absolutely love seeing something being built that helps the people who will use it.

He didn’t just teach me about tools though. He taught me how to fix things. I was always his assistant from plumbing, yard work, car maintenance, and anything else around the house. He taught me how to change and rotate tires with a jack, jack stands, and a fourway lug wrench among many other things.  Although I don’t have a daughter, I would be happy to share these skills with any young girl, as I know how independent they make you feel. Don’t take for granted being able to pass along these life skills to the younger generation.


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