I didn’t have a clue at the time that Dad was just humoring us; that he took us chasing rainbows only because we believed in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the leprechaun guarding it – and not because he actually ever thought we were going to find those merry illusions.
But we always had a great chase, him driving the car and my three siblings and me telling him which way to go. “Left up there, Dad.” “Now straight, Dad.” “No, Dad, go right, it’s just over that hill there.” He followed our directions as well as he could, my mom often translating or making the final call on which way.
Our family often used to pile in the car and go for “a ride,” just wandering aimlessly, it seemed, and looking at the area crops, locating new businesses, enjoying general landscape, chatting with each other, viewing the activity on area lakes and rivers. Sometimes checking out tornado damage. Sometimes looking for deer hanging in trees (during hunting season). Sometimes driving past maple sap pails.
And, if there was a rainbow, trying to find the end of it.
I don’t know where we ever got the idea about the pot of gold and the leprechaun, but we were certain if we could locate one or the other end of any rainbow, we would find the magic. And Dad was always there helping us look, barreling down country roads, dashing up hills, slamming on the brakes to make a quick turn, in accordance with the directions we were shouting out to him. I guess he didn’t want to dash our dreams, and in fact was intent on helping us discover them.
We never did locate either end of the rainbow or the pot of gold or the green little elf. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Dad, forever and ever, has been that kind of guy. He played along. He helped. He taught by example. He tried. He was there when we needed him. And, very fortunately, he still is.
I was blessed when I got my particular dad. And I feel blessed every day that I can still call him up and chat, go visit him, hear him talk and tell stories, discuss politics. I love to listen to him. He’s a good man. A great example. Intelligent, funny, wise, kind of a smart-aleck sometimes, but in our family that’s almost a necessity.
Dad was not as fortunate as my siblings and me. Cancer took both of his parents by the time he was 12, and his only sibling, a bachelor and a brother who was 17 years older than my dad, stepped up to the plate to finish raising my dad. How either of them learned to be great dads is beyond me. Must have been instinct.
Long story short, my dad is healthy and happy after nearly 90 years’ worth of diamonds and rocks.
One of his favorite sayings is, “There’s no such thing as a problem.” He doesn’t like problems, so he doesn’t have them. It’s a good lesson he has passed to four children and four stepchildren.
I could go on and on about my dad. We’ve shared quite a few decades.
But the one thing that makes a big impression when I think back is those rainbows.
There have been many rainbows in all our lives. Dad has never stopped helping us look for the end. And we have never stopped looking for them, whatever they might be.
As long as the chase continues, life will be good. And we have Dad to thank for that – and, well, about a trillion other things.
Happy Father’s Day, dads!