Growing up in the home of a self-employed contractor helped
me see the seasonal nature of the construction business. Without fail, each approaching winter would
put dad’s business on hold until the warm spring days returned along with new
I loved Christmas mornings as a boy. Waking up on Christmas morning my brother and
I would run into our living room and stare with great joy at the lighted
Christmas tree surrounded with presents. Some years a new Schwinn bicycle might appear under the tree. I could barely contain my joy on Christmas
mornings. What I did not know until years later was how my parents paid for all
this Christmas joy when dad had no work.
Each fall, after the hunting season was over and
construction work began to slow down, my dad would visit the local
pawnshop. Dad would pawn his deer rifle,
shotgun and binoculars. From this yearly
pawnshop transaction my father would get enough money to purchase gifts for his
wife and kids.
As a young boy, I assumed in my youthful innocence, that the
deer rifles, shotguns and binoculars of every other family in our neighborhood
also disappeared in the fall and then magically reappeared in the spring.
Dad’s yearly trips to the pawnshop taught me that father’s
sacrifice their most precious possessions to bring joy to the life of the ones
they love. My father died in the late
1980’s. Upon his death, I inherited his
shotgun and my brother was given our father’s deer rifle.
To this day when I hold dad’s shotgun, I am taken back many
decades to imagine a visit to a pawnshop where my father gave up something
special so that I could experience the joy of a little boy’s Christmas morning.
This is what fathers do for their
children. Fathers birth joy in their sacrifice.