Anyone that talks to me for very long will hear me make comments about my dad, Bob Alexander. He’s been gone 3 1/2 years now, but he was a major influence in my life, particularly since my mother has been gone for 22 years (wow – that long?). Influence and inspiration I should say.
While we learn both good and bad things from our parents, let me share some of the good things I learned.
This is a BIG thing from my dad. Huge in fact.
He started out as an electrician at a GM plant in Flint, and gradually worked up to being a General Superintendent over 400 skilled trade workers.
When I was about 8 or 9, my parents had decided they wanted more space but weren’t going to move. So, they took their Cape Code style house (1 1/2 stories), ripped off the 1/2 story and made it a two story house. They also took off the one car garage and made an overly large 2 car garage that you could’ve gotten 3 smaller cars in. This is where the tenacity shows up.
The only part of that remodel that Dad hired out was the initial rough in. He did all the electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, siding, roofing, cement – you name it. Did he know how to do everything he needed to do when he started that project? Nope. He figured out or found out how to do things when he needed them. Unlike many home improvement projects, he got the appropriate building inspections, so the work he did wasn’t shoddy.
That is tenacity.
If Life Gives You a Lemon, Make Lemonade
My dad found out he had type 2 Diabetes when I was 8. Although there were various attempts to follow the diet, for the most part, he ignored it. Both my mother and my step-mother tried to get him to eat like he was supposed to with no luck. The fact that symptoms were delayed so long were due to his very active lifestyle (see Tenacity!).
Eventually it caught up to him and killed him. In between is the lemonade section.
Dad ended up losing a foot below the knee. For a lot of people at 70 years old, this would have sidelined them. Not Dad.
He got a prosthetic leg. And not just any prosthetic leg would do. His doctor ended up arguing with Medicare to get him a leg for an active person. They argued that a 70-year-old didn’t need that – they obviously didn’t know my dad.
After he got the leg and got used to it, he was back to mowing his own lawn, cutting down trees, and playing golf several days a week. In fact, he started wearing shorts to play golf to intimate the other golfers with the sight of his prosthetic leg. Upon beating an opponent, he had been know to say something like ‘How does it feel to be beaten by a one-legged man?’
Kind of amazing, huh?
Like most parents, Dad could aggravate the hell out of me sometimes.
And he taught me a lot of lessons just by living life on his terms.
Dad, I miss you.
As for the rest of you, find your inspiration close to you. It’ll stick to you long after the inspiring moment occurs.