I got a text message from my father.
My first thought: impossible — that old man doesn’t know how to text.
My second thought: impossible — my father is dead.
My dad died on Sept. 4 — a Tuesday — just a month shy of his 82nd birthday. He was a farmer, just like my grandfather, and was the hardest working man I knew.
There are four of us kids; my brother and I just over a year apart, then a five-year gap and two sisters back to back. My father took a subtle approach to parenting. This resulted in my mother screaming on various occasions, “Leo, get those kids off the top of that barn/tree/tractor/wagon!”
He lived long enough to grudgingly retire, my brother taking over the farm where we were all raised, as was always understood. Dad couldn’t stay away from the farm, puttering around in the huge back garden; planting various squash (or as he pronounced it, “skwarsh”), potatoes and tomatoes; wrangling grandkids to till, plant or pull weeds.