It’s been 30 years since my father exited the planet. He was the passenger in a head-on car accident, not anticipating that transition. He was an active 80 – still traveling, square dancing, and bowling. He had lived a very good life.

He was not perfect, and he never claimed to be. He knew what it meant to take responsibility for his choices, and he willingly did so. He graciously accepted compliments. He also never shunned saying, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” If anything, he was often too hard on himself. He aspired to be the finest man he could be. He was respected.

He worked hard. He was a carpenter and proud of his trade. From building houses throughout the Denver area to designing fine cabinetry and furniture, he took great joy and satisfaction in his work. He was still working at 80.

He enjoyed nature. Fishing, camping, and hunting brought him great joy. I never liked that he hunted, but it put meat in our freezer for the winter. He was always proud when I’d catch more fish then him. I learned to put worms on my hook, but he cleaned the fish.

He loved to read and study – a student of life. His “den”, with the stone fireplace he built with his own hands, held shelves and shelves of books. He had only an eighth grade education but spent hours with his cherished books every evening. I loved sitting with him, beside that fireplace, discussing or debating a subject or an issue. Those were precious moments for us both.

He was devout in his faith. He believed that contributing to life from a place of love and goodness was how he was meant to live. He was always available to lend a helping hand. He related to Jesus and aspired to be like Him. He would say, “The finest Man that ever walked on earth was a carpenter.”

Today I pause to honor his imperfect life and his rich legacy that lives on in me.