Three Important Lessons I Learned From My Maine Farmer Dad
Earlier today, while I was on a long drive to run a work errand, my thoughts kind of wandered. I started thinking about my childhood and growing up in Northern Maine. Specifically, I was thinking about my dad.
If you know me, you know I don't spend much time talking about my dad. He passed away from cancer when I was ten, so I really only had a few years to get to know him. But, since today is National Farmer's Day, it only seems appropriate that I spend a little time talking about him.
Frederick Merlin (yes, that was his real middle name) Dow was born in 1929 and spent most of his life living and working in Aroostook County. Yes, he was quite old when I was born.
He worked various jobs and owned various businesses over the years. By the time that I came along, he owned a potato farm and owned a trucking company. He worked hard and was always on the run. There were a few important lessons I learned from him.
1 - Work Hard & Lead From The Front
As a small business owner, he could not afford to just do the bare minimum and collect a paycheck. He needed to be in the trenches all the time. He did most of the heavy lifting himself, only hiring help when he needed it. There was no time when his people were working that he was not right there with them.
He drove the tractor, worked on the machinery / trucks (instead of hiring a mechanic), drove the truck, and did the accounting.
He worked long hours and barely took days off, all so that he could provide for his family.
2 - Treat Your Employees Well
Even though he did a lot of things himself, he had a regular crew of hourly and per diem employees. He always made sure they were taken care of.
This was back when not many people had cellphones, so he was constantly visiting the sites where they were working to make sure everything was running smoothly and to make sure they had food, drinks, etc. And, for those who did not have vehicles, he made sure they had a ride to work (even if he had to drive around picking them up).
As far as I can recall, they were never left on their own. He was always right there for them.
3 - Spend Time With Your Family
Even though my father was always busy, I always had a chance to spend time with him. He made sure of that.
Yes, a lot of the time I spent with him was while he was on the job, but it was still quality time. I'd go to the machine shed with him while he worked on tractors and plows, or I'd go out on truck with him. We once went on a long haul trip from Maine to Florida and back.
And, a few times a year, we would take a "vacation". No, we weren't going to Disney
Even though this video is from the 2020s (not the 1980s), it still reminds me of my time with my dad.
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Gallery Credit: Stacker