As always, it’s good to hear from the men on the topic at hand. On any topic, it’s good to go to the collective wisdom of the men and see what is to be shared and revealed. This month we hear from the men posting on social media, in answer to this question: “What is a strong memory or ‘spot weld moment’ with your father?”
My dad and I went on a fishing trip at Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota when I was 12 years old. We attended a father-son weekend event with a fishing competition covering three categories:
- Biggest Fish
- First Fish
- Most Fish
We were a team! We won it all – first fish, biggest fish and most fish. We won everything … and I did nothing! I had my line in the water and caught no fish. I’ll always remember what a great team we made since you could never bet against my dad. He was the best.
My spot weld moment came later in life, not when I was a boy, but rather when I was an adult man. It came just as I was getting a divorce. He looked at me when I was very down about it, and said something like “The thing that you think is the worst thing that could happen may be the best thing that ever happened to you.” I didn’t buy it for a second when he said it. But in retrospect I can see some truth in it. I’ve been sober ever since that time.
We are walking in the woods in Gaylordsville, Connecticut in 1965. It was my father, me, my brother Tim, my dad‘s best friend Bobby, and his son Simon. My dad saw a copperhead snake and killed it instantly with what looked to be a 10-pound rock. About 20 percent of my mind was thinking what a shame to kill something living, and the other 80 percent of my mind, considering how venomous copperheads are, was thinking, “Thank you Dad for protecting all of us.”
When I was nine years old in the fourth grade, I had an accident while playing hide and seek. My foot slipped into a concrete drain pipe with a missing cover, and a pipe with a big chip in the top lip cut my left about three inches below my left knee. The wound went all the way to the bone. As the blood was pouring down my leg, the pain was so intense that I told my dad “Kill me, I want to die.” He was scrubbing the dirt out of my wound, and then looked up at me and said, “Oh no, you’re going to be just fine.” That calmness and confidence was what I really needed at that moment. He was my hero. I will never forget that.
I remember when my dad knocked me out the back door for disrespecting him in front of company.
My father physically challenged me at 15. All in fun, but he put up his dukes, and I went into his body, took him down and cracked two of his ribs.
When I was about 10 my dad taught me to whittle with my new jackknife. Of course, he told me not to pull the knife toward me but to always push it away. Sure enough, a few minutes later I pulled the knife toward me. The knife slipped and I gashed my left thumb and it bled profusely. My dad, in his inimitable style said, “I guess you won’t do that again.” Years later, now I’m about 60. I’m visiting my son in Arkansas where he was stationed. We went to a local range to shoot handguns. With my first round of ammo the slider on my son’s gun came back and nicked my right thumb and it bled profusely. My son looked at me and said …
“I guess you won’t do that again!” I then told him the earlier story, which he had never heard. He is his grandfather’s grandson.
My spot weld moment actually came as a father to my son. It happened while I was the Division Coordinator of Full Monty. We had a division meeting at the beach in Marina Del Rey, almost 100 men were there. And we circled up … a huge circle. And then I stepped into the center with my son. He was probably about 10 years old. And looking at all these grown men surrounding us, he was a little intimidated. But he held my hand, and as I delivered my speech he looked up at me and I recognize that this was a spot weld moment. This was something he would always remember. And something I would remember too.
This would be “My Three Sons” for my father Scott Leslie. Sons Bruce, Brad (yeah WITH HAIR ) and Robert.
My father on Father’s Day takes three of his sons to see their first major league baseball game. It is 1961 and a Sunday doubleheader Yankees in Cleveland. We are 13, 11 and 6. One son stays home; he is six months old. We live in Rochester, New York, so we get up early to get to a bus which takes us to a train in Batavia, NY for the trip to Cleveland. There are many men on this baseball “excursion,” but only ONE HAS CHILDREN. My Dad would give up his day for his children.
Yesterday, April 22, would have been his 105th birthday. His four sons texted and called each other to celebrate this amazing father. We are the fathers we are because of his example. When he was old and dying, we would tell him how lucky we were to have him as a father. His response: “You don’t give your mother enough credit.” Four lucky men to have such great loving parents.
It was the early 1970s and I was still in my teens. I was watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Dad came into the room. I can still picture it. I remember something where two of the pythons were kneeling, you know, doing the shoes on the knees bit to appear very short. They were portraying these two squirrely little kids and above them dangles a 16-ton weight. John Cleese (at his sinister best) is leaning way down “interviewing” the “children” about how they feel about standing under a 16-ton weight. And the “kids” are shyly grinning and giggling stupidly. I felt embarrassed that my Dad was there in the room. Most parents of that era would have been baffled by Python humor. But, to his credit, Dad laughed his ass off.
Not sure if there’s just one. My brother and I used to fight over who would get to hold Dad’s watch hand. Going to see horseshoe crabs on the bay, then a trip to Carvel’s or Howard Johnson’s for ice cream.
My dad got in a go kart, and i sat in his lap for a few laps when I was 6 or 7 years old at a new go kart business opened by a friend of his. It was a weekday, and there was no one else on the track. He then stood up, his friend put a special seat on the kart, and I drove the kart for about an hour.
There really are a ton. I’m a visual artist/learner. My father was a farmer. Simple. Most of the time non verbal. This one comes to mind. Changing a bucket on the tractor he shoved the pin through with his thumb. It wasn’t completely level so it lopped the end of the thumb off. He grabbed his hanky and the bit. Told me to get on the tractor and put the other bucket on. He walked back to the house and went to the hospital (30 miles away). Being a man who ran a welding company, I know what it’s like to get a welding flash. Pain. He never said a word and I can tell you it was because there was nothing to be said.
My spot weld moment came a little later in my father’s life. I was about 32, and he was diagnosed with cancer. I did not want him to die in the hospital alone so I brought him home to die with company. I still had some unfinished business with him. So since he was going to die at my home I asked him some important questions. He was quite a drinker and a bit of a show off back in his day. I was a great baseball player and whenever I pitched a no-hitter in high school he always said that my uncle would do better than I since he played for the Dodgers. I ended up playing with the Minnesota twins for a spell.
The thing that hurt the most was when we had company, he always told me that I was such a failure I could f*** up a wet dream. I used to be so ashamed and embarrassed.
When I was a boy, my dad was always on strike. To make ends meet we would clean basement, install fences and do anything we could do to put food on the table. He taught me a really great work ethic which I have to this day.
I am very creative and talented at what I do. I don’t say that with any kind of arrogance but rather because he taught me that.
My final question to him was, “Why did you always treat me like you did?”
He started tearing up and said he could never do what I did and he was embarrassed and ashamed. I was astonished. My answer to him? “Who do you think taught me how to do this kind of stuff? It was you Dad.” He looked at me with a sense of relief, and you could see the shame leaving his face.
He didn’t understand all those years how much he taught me. He’s been gone over 32 years now and I still think of him when I go clamming, crabbing, and farming. Because of my dad I taught my own children, all five of them – that even in the worst of times you will always have food on the table. It’s in the bay and it’s in the soil. And you will never go hungry. Thank you Dad.