This week I have started to realize that some of my best lessons came from people that were not Buddhists. I was over at my parent’s house this weekend for a Groundhog day Party, my parents are both from that area in Pennsylvania. They are in such a small town these events are of epic proportions.
After the party was winding down my father was moving a chair and fell. He ended up sprawled on the floor and had received a small cut about his eye. I applied some pressure and got the bleeding to stop and my mother put some butterfly bandages on it.
I guess as I age my parents are getting older. I am approaching my fortieth year on this earth my father is in his 70’s. I guess I never really noticed it as he ages he has always been in great shape. Last year he started taking his first pill and was pissed about it.
As I sit here now I never really thought about I, but maybe that fall has made me look at things a little different, this man has been a major part of my life. I will suffer a great loss when he passes from this earth.
Over the years I have dragged him across the state of Florida. Sometimes to a car show or some reptile show. He has even been to a few concerts. He has taught me so much that I find it hard to think of a life without my father. He got his first tattoo and I got my second on the same day. For years he had always put us kids first and still puts family above all things even himself.
For years he has always wanted a 65 Mustang. The kids or family would always need new braces or some car repair and he never got around to owning one. He had owned a Mustang Gt and loved that car. For years he had always the sensible car the Honda or a wagon something a family would ride in.
He taught me to be responsible to myself as well as others. But also to standup for myself. My wife and I even coined a term for all of his sayings, Shafferisms. Some could be put on a t-shirt. Some a little to rough to be ever printed anywhere. Just little snippets of what he had learned in all his years. During his thirties he was worried about his health he quit smoking and took up running. I think he never enjoyed being inside. He used to get up early in the morning and run in the desert around our home. He came back a few times with bumps and bruises some of those runs were very dark, but that never stopped him from running. Just the price you pay. And that has paid off now many years later.
When I see so many people with failing health I see my father still working part time. I think more to get out of the house than to earn money. He still unloads the trucks and loves wearing the youngsters down. He has probably never had a Starbucks coffee or eaten in a five start restaurant. When he retired from IBM and they moved to another community he used to drive the car to work out, but than parking became a problem so he walked. My mother was telling me how he was looking to get a bike. I bought him one with large handlebars and fenders kind of like a street rod. He still polishes that bike and looks brand new even though it has been a few years since I bought it for him. That bike was something he would have never bought himself. I also bought him a dog. My parents had always had dogs and when they talked about this one being their last one. I knew it was just something they told themselves. Their house would never be a home unless they had a little dog to spoil. So Otis came into their lives. He is walked several times a day. And if there is something like a rebirth I would love to come back as my parents dog.
I have decided that I might do a few sentences on several things my father has taught me. But that will be for a later date. But sometimes the best teachers are not Buddhists at all