Lately I have been reminiscing a lot about life in general. And my life.
Whenever I do so my thoughts end up with the person I spent most of my early and mid-life with. My Dad. He taught me how to work. He taught me to respect my elders. And he taught me that debt was evil! To avoid it at all costs. As I have aged I realize the most important thing he taught me was personal status in the neighborhood/community and self respect where not connected. Dad was wealthy. I can say that now that he has been gone for over 10 years. With never having any debt and working more than most men he had a good sum of cash. He earned every penny through incredible physical and emotional stress. A project at a time. We put in the infrastructure for developments all over the county. He was the best at his trade. A very humble, modest and shy man. His best traits. Today as I usually do I drove home looking up our beautiful mountains. As time as passed there has been a “king of the hill” contest on these mountains. It has been a “who can build the biggest and be highest on the mountain” contest. I don’t get it. Really I don’t get it. I drove up today and was reminded what these hilltop mansions look out to everyday.
They, in their multi-million dollar homes look out to the refineries, freeways, and us little people. I say that with a little sarcasm. At one event hosted by a wealthy (or very much in debt) family I overheard a person not of the area say while looking out the 2 story glass windows to the valley “look at all the little people”. It made me chuckle. I know a lot of people that live “up” on the hill. There are a many good people there. You would never catch my dad with that lifestyle. In fact very late in life he bought his first new car. Paid cash. Then hid it in the garage. He was to embarrassed to drive it. He started driving it a little at night. Mom took it out mostly. The point is that dad could afford any house on the hill. In fact when he was growing up and until his mid life he and his brothers owned most the land that now has huge mansions on it. Used to be pasture. Beautiful land. Back then the rich lived near main street in classics like this one…
But you know what? My Dad was the King of the Hill! His life was spent saving, working like a madman, doing tons for all sorts of people. Most of which any good deed he did anonymously. He and I would go out often on Saturdays and do little side projects. Mostly replacing old service laterals to homes that had failed. He had created a way that we could take out the old galvanized pipe and replace it with copper without digging up the yard. In most cases when we left you could barely tell we had been there. He shared the proceeds with me from these odd jobs. Extra spending money for car parts, etc. After working all day he would approach the home owner for payment. It was never a problem. Unless it was a widow, a single mother or family in need. As it turned out we would just leave and not ask for payment. Man at times I wanted to kick my dad’s butt. Let it be known that even at 73 in full Alzheimer’s he could still take me! It was a bitter pill for me to swallow. The money meant more to me than anything in the world. And that was the problem and the lesson Dad taught me. “if you do enough good things for other people, good things will happen to you”. He said it often. Only to me.
He built this home that I was raised by hand. Dug the foundation out by hand. Hand mixed all the concrete for the footings and foundation. Took down a quonset hut piece by piece at Hill Air Force Base and hauled all the wood, windows and hardware from South Ogden to Bountiful. Built the majority of the home out of the materials from the old building at Hill Air Force Base. For many years he and Mom and my sister lived in the house with mostly unfinished stud walls. A small home full of memories. Hand built by the REAL King of the Hill. MY DAD!!!!
He was a giant in many ways.