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  • Heather Simmons

Father's Day | The Renaissance Man


My father is so very special to me that this could quite easily become a novella if I don't watch myself. He is my hero and I love every. thing. about. him. I could go on and on about what he's taught me about unconditional love, how his love for me made it so easy and natural for me to understand the unending love of The Father. How he told me I was beautiful every day, so that I never had to look to a boyfriend for self-esteem. How he believes in my potential so much that I know I have a safety net and can take bigger risks than I could if I were alone in the world. How he is the most jovial, good-natured man that I've ever met. He's just the best. But since tallulah faire is all about making things, I thought I'd narrow in on my obsession with my Daddy and just focus on his love for everything.

Two of the things I love most about my father are his complex personality and well-rounded intelligence. He's an artist and a solider. A house builder and a bible study leader. A gardener and a science fiction nerd. He loves hard physical labor but also reads transcendental and lofty books. There are so many parts to him that seem so unconnected and disparate, that when I was little I thought my father WAS the Renaissance. He can fix my car and talk about the shifts in music throughout the decades with ease, and I honestly don't know how he's amassed all these skill sets and knowledge without being 200 years old. If my mom is MacGyver, then my father is Encyclopedia Brown. He wants to know everything there is to know.

One of my father's oil paintings.

Witnessing this all-encompassing curiosity about life as a child made me aware of how satisfying it can be to pursue varied interests. Hobbies were important in our home, and we were let in on all of it. Gardening, proper pH balance in soil levels, shooting guns (I was a real zinger with a BB gun), reading and using a topographical map, oil painting, drawing, swinging a hammer, playing sports, and cutting grass were all things of which I was a part. Some interests stuck, some didn't. But the general knowledge I accrued from learning about these things made it easier for me to learn other, more difficult things. I now walk around with all this random knowledge that's not useless at all -- in fact, it's armed me with a different perspective for problem solving.

Here's another. Don't you just want to live there?

Knowing a little about all sorts of things has helped me apply the techniques of one type of study or discipline to another, with fascinating effects. I paint on fabric. I've used wood working tools on canvas. I've used kitchen utensils when Shibori dying to get just the shape I'm looking for. I know which plants make the best natural dye. As an added bonus, I can handyman pretty much anything around the house. Knowing a little about a lot also helps me understand the people around me. If I were a one-note individual, I bet empathy would be much more difficult. Every idea is worth trying, every documentary is worth watching. Every effort to learn more about this wide beautiful world is worthwhile. And I learned that from my Daddy.


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