My Dad

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My Dad

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Like many of you, I was a long-distance caregiver to both Mom and Dad. After he passed away and Mom came to live with me I discovered Caregiving.com and began blogging about the experience. I have never had an opportunity to introduce you to my dad. This is just one of many stories about him. He lived to 91 and in the final years of his life suffered from macular degeneration which left him virtually blind in his only good eye, optical hallucinations and dementia.

A chemical engineer by trade, Dad could do almost anything. My mother never had to call a repairman. She also never had a garage that had a working vehicle in it. Living in a house without a basement was not an option in my family. He loved anything that had moving parts and if it didn’t work, all the better! When he was working, every night after dinner he would retire to the basement to work on whatever project he had going at the time. He retired with a small pocket memo pad filled with his list of things to do. Even after he was retired for 20 years, he still had that list going.

In 1992 at 74 he talked a fellow church member into selling him a 1945 Farmall Tractor. It was a rusting hulk, sitting in a field covered in vines. He had to winch it onto a flatbed to haul it to their house.

I remember him telling me he had to send clear across the country to find the parts for the transmission that was sitting in pieces on the garage floor. For about four years he worked on that tractor. He took it completely apart. Cleaned the rusty parts, replaced hoses and belts, figured out what didn’t work and got that tractor up and running.

When it was in working order, he went to a large tractor dealer near me and ordered the paint to finish the job.

It took about five years in all, but he took that frozen, rusted old tractor from 1945 and made it brand new. I even got to ride on the back as he drove it around. When he was all done, at just about 80, he sold it and looked for another project!

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Jean

TDM, i have to say, my dad probably would have bought that tractor from you dad if he were still around! That is an amazing job!\n

Jean

Jan said it all! I love seeing those photos. That tractor looks so much like the tractors my dad had when I was very young. I remember riding with him, sitting on his lap, then later on the side by the wheels.. Thanks so much for telling us about your dad, he sounded like quite a guy.

jan

That is absolutely fabulous, TDM. I love the pictures and story to go with it. It says so much about your dad and your mom, heck, your family. He had such a curious mind, open to possibilities, eager to find solutions, driven with purpose. It also says alot about your family, and in particular your mother that she could \"tolerate\" that kind of disorder in a house/basement/garage while he accomplished his tasks. That is a testimony to a marriage. Alot of families don't get that. Thanks for sharing.

TiredButDetermined

Oh I love this story!! What an amazing project, and a great memory for you. Thanks for sharing this!