One day, I remember being with Daddy when he was a tad under the weather and unable to mow his lawn. Gardening and landscaping are the ultimate therapy for Daddy (and music, of course – giggle giggle). So, here I am listening to him tell me about how he is feeling and how he’s disappointed the lawn will not be attended to before the next rain.
Man, oh, man, it seemed to be 100 degrees that day. I changed my clothes, rolled up my sleeves, and asked Daddy to start the mower for me. You should have seen the shock on his face. Heck, it had been a trillion years since I mowed a lawn of this size (mine is much smaller). In fact, I think the last time was when he first showed me how to use the mower when I was a kid!
I mowed the front. Giving close detail to the areas he meticulously pointed out to me. Then I mowed up and down the sides of the house. All was going well until I turned the corner toward the rear of the property. There, suddenly appearing before me as though I was seeing it for the first time, THE BACKYARD. In its entirety. OMGoodness… The small incline became a steep hill. And the mower became a cumbersome object that I was unable to maneuver with the same precision as Daddy would. But, I gave it my best shot — successfully dodging the garden, bushes, new landscaping, and the swing hanging from the tree! Whew!
So, at the end of this escapade, I showered and asked the family to take a ride with me. I drove straight to Lowe’s. Did not pass go, did not stop at the ATM and collect 200 dollars… (you remember that board game, don’t you?) We arrived and parked, with everyone wondering what the heck we were doing. I asked my cousins to take Daddy around to see a few items in the store and, just before we’re ready to leave, try to lure him to the riding mowers. I left the family and found a salesperson to walk with as I filled him in on my plan.
We met up with the family, and Daddy was proudly sitting on top of a riding mower. I asked him about the differences between the various models. He instantly became the connoisseur of all grass tools. When I showed an intense interest in one particular model, he went over-the-top and told me how helpful something like this would have been a couple hours ago during my mowing turmoil. SOLD!
The salesperson showed interest in our conversations as I said, “Daddy, why don’t you take this one home with us?” His reply broke my heart. “Well, dear one, I would love to drive this beautiful machine outta here. But, my pension and military benefits combined, only allow me to meet ends. And this is a desire, not a need. So I’ll just put it on the wish list.”
Fighting back the tears, I pulled the salesperson and my Daddy away from the rest of the family and asked Daddy if the red riding mower he was most passionate about would help him maintain his quality of life and allow him to enjoy his love of landscaping with ease. He laughed, as he always does under pressure, and said, “Yes.” I looked at the salesperson and said, “Please process this purchase with an extended service warranty and deliver to my Daddy’s home.”
Now it was Daddy’s turn to hold back the tears as he yelled, “Whooooooooooo BIG RED! The neighbors are going to see me riding BIG RED!” (of course everyone in ear shot is teary eyed at this point).
I was blessed to be able to contribute to my Daddy’s quality of life. Not every child can help their parent in such a big way. But Brenai Foundation can. With the help of donors, sponosrs, and people like you who support the cause, we can change the lives of our veterans and give them the quality of life they have earned and deserve.
Daddy passed away before he could see how he inspired the creation of Brenai Foundation. This organization offers its support to active-duty and retired military in honorable memory of my dear Daddy.
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