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Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Dad, Dad's Day and Dad-Crafts

The Cap'n and Cap'n Mom looking on while Dad filet's the catch of the day.
 Hello crafters near and far.  You might have noticed my blogging and articles have really slowed in the past month or so.  Sadly, the reason this time is not my busy-ness (or laziness) but instead, my father had an unexpected heart attack and died on May 6.  If I sound blunt in my explanation, please forgive me.  It has been a sad time and difficult to navigate the waters of etiquette surrounding this event.  He was 66 years old and a wonderful, loving father, grandfather, brother and husband.  The most amazing help has been the words of encouragement and care from family and friends, so thank you for that.  In his memory I wrote this father's day piece for the Capital City Weekly which truly does speak to the heart of why I love him, and why he loved Alaska so much. 

Pick up a new Dad-craft this Father's Day
There is a special bond between Alaskan fathers and daughters that, generally speaking, does not come in the form of traditional "crafts." Rarely are Northwest father-daughter duos found at Stich 'n' Bitch sessions poised with needles (and tongues) at the ready. Juneau daddies are not often passing down their family lace-making traditions or secret tatting techniques. But if we think outside the bounds of tradition a bit, we see that other kinds of Dad-craft are everywhere: in the familiar hum of a working water heater, in the worn wood of a handmade deck, and in the zing of a FISH-ON. His cooking might involve a venison steak and grill instead of rhubarb and an oven, and his staple gun might be a little hefty for darning socks or stitching up pillows, but the same steadfast care for craft is equally there, even if it is wrapped in stainless steel. So if you are a daughter who loves a Dad, think about rooting around in his craft this Father's Day, and you might just learn something Alaskan.

My top 8 Dad-crafts to tackle together this Father's Day (in no particular order): 
Go fishing with Pops- I'm in the middle, this was in a short-hair stint for me!
 #1. Go fishing! Though the 4 a.m. tide change might make you cringe, think of it as a great time to catch the sunrise this summer. And instead of making Dad fillet all the day's catch, get in there and get at those guts yourself.
Dad demos the right way to bait a hoochie (that's the little squid thing- not a fast chic!).
 #2. Work on his truck: How many times has he changed the oil in your rig? Daughter, it's time to reciprocate and give back the love. Just ask him to hang around as your assistant this time.

#3. Grill together: Sometimes a Dad does not like to relinquish grill control, but perhaps a joint grilling session can give you both a new perspective on charred meat and veggies. Just remember on Dad's day it's your duty to clean and cover the grill when the festivities are over.

#4. Take aim: The range (either archery or shooting) is a great place to pass on some Dad-craft skills that can be used in the hunting field or just for sport.

#5. Play with power tools: One of my favorite Dad moments was the day mine gifted me a Dewalt 12V driver for Christmas. I don't think he was ever more proud of me squealing with glee. Build something for Dad or just get a crash course in garage fodder so that you know how to use more than duct tape and hot glue to keep things together.

#6. Reminisce: Talking about crafts past may be more geared for a Chatty Cathy session with Grandma, but chances are Dad has quite a few stories of "The big one that got away" stashed. This activity never gets old, as the stories will only get bigger and better year after year.

#7. Brew up some cold ones: Watching America's favorite pastime is hard to beat on Dad's day, so imagine a frothy cold brew made just by you. Either start a few months early, or start your brew with Dad now; that way when it's ready for consumption you have a fresh supply for football season!

#8. Do Mom's Honey-Do list: What better way to please Dad than to make Mom happy too? Tackle the little projects around the house so Pops can put his feet up and Mom can be relieved that the latch is attached and the tree is trimmed.

Whether your dad's craft is cleaning the driveway, skinning a deer, or pushing your buttons, chances are there is something he does better than most with a particular vim and vigor that you could learn from. So this Father's Day let him know that you love him by learning from and paying homage to his Dad-craft.

In loving memory of my Father, James Russell Peters, whose amazing Dad-craft led to my Daughter-craft.