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A Father's Day Tribute

Gifts My Father Gave Me

Painting: “Gifts My Father Gave Me” by Je’ Czaja Mordon

By Author and Artist Je’ Czaja Mordon

Pop came in from the fields to get lunch one spring day and said, “It’s about time for the first strawberry to get ripe.”
I dashed out of the house to the strawberry field, walking up and down the rows and, “Yes!” I picked the half-ripe strawberry and ran to the house.


 “Look! I found one!” I yelled.


“How about that,” Pop said, smiling.


Later that year Pop came in and said, “It’s about time for the Hereford to have her calf.”


I dashed past the Magic Barn, through the Enchanted Orchard to the clearing in the pasture. “Yes!” There was a beautiful calf, curled up in the sun, its mama watching me closely.


I ran back to the house with the news. “She had her calf!” I yelled.


“How about that,” Pop said, “Bull or heifer calf?”


How could I be so dumb as to not find that out? I dashed back to the pasture, getting a bit winded from all the dashing and slowly approached the calf. It stood up awkwardly and walked to its mama. It’s a girl, I noted happily. We needed more girls on the farm.


“Heifer calf!” I yelled when I got back to the house, trying to catch my breath.


“How about that,” Pop said, smiling.


It was only years later that I realized that Pop had already found the strawberry and the calf and just wanted me to have the joy of finding them.


One day Pop came in from in the fields and said, “It’s about time for the purple trillium to bloom.”


“What’s a purple trillium?” I asked.


“Oh, it’s a very rare and precious flower that only grows in the swamp.”


“I want to see it,” I said.


He finished his lunch and said, “Let’s go.”


We walked past the barn, through the hay field, across the brook and into the woods where I had never been before. The ground started getting squishy underfoot and I figured we were getting close to the swamp.


Finally, Pop held back a bush, pointed and said, “There.”


Growing in the swampy soil were three purple trillium; strange-looking flowers, so dark they were almost black.
“Rare and precious,” he had said …. I thought so, too.


 Though we never had much money, my father was the most generous of men. He couldn’t buy me lots of things, but he gave me the first strawberry, the new calf and the precious purple trillium.