My father-in-law, Gene Drew, was a very kind and quiet man who would sometimes surprise us with his humorous wit. I always thought my husband got his wit from his mother but he also got it from his dad. Randy even laughs like his dad. There’s no denying it. We are our parents!
When Gene spoke, the message was plain, simple and always thought through. There was never misunderstanding what he said.
He was a WWII Veteran and like so many of his time, they did not talk about the war. Instead, they got busy workin’, raisin’ families and livin’!
Gene could fix anything. Cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers – you name it, he repaired it! He could make anything out of left over stuff. He made a work table on wheels once out of an old air conditioning unit. In his later years, he helped his grandchildren make science fair projects. He was amazing!
Gramps, as we all fondly called him, passed away in July of 2011 just shy of his 90th birthday. At his funeral, his youngest son Kyle gave the eulogy. He spoke about all of the wonderful things he instilled in his children not by doing so much talking but by his actions.
When he did talk, Gramps had a personal saying he always used for anything good – “Mighty Fine.” Kyle reminded us that when he learned to ride his bike or came home with news of getting on the baseball team, Gramps would always say that’s “Mighty Fine.”
When as a kid he asked, “Dad, what do you think about Jesus returning?” Gramps slowly took his pipe out of his mouth and said, “I think it would be mighty fine!”
Gramps was a humble man whose life has had a huge impact on his children and this daughter-in-law. On the way home from the funeral, I asked my husband to help me find Gramps’ tools so we could spell out “Mighty Fine.”
(He had no idea what I was talking about – nothing unusual. His talent is music. He can hear a song on the radio and play it. I have no idea how he does that! I’m visually creative – I can see it in my head. He has no idea how I can do that so we’re even!)
When we got home, we started laying out Gramps’ tools and over several weekends, we finally found the right tools to spell out “Mighty Fine.” We took individual pictures of each tool that looked like a letter, printed them and had four sets made of the pictures framed together.
On December 9, Gramps’ 90th birthday, I wrapped the picture frames in brown paper sacks. It fit him perfectly as Gramps was never into paying for expensive wrapping paper. Randy gave a picture frame to his mother, Betty, sister, Lesa and brother, Kyle. He told them, “If you look real close, you can see where Dad scratched ‘Drew’ on one of his tools.”
Randy’s mother placed it on the wall at the foot of the bed so she could see it every night before she fell asleep. Lesa displayed it in the main foyer of her home because she said it is the first thing she sees every morning and the last thing she sees at night. Kyle hung his in the hallway as a sweet reminder of his dad’s words. We hung ours above the office door to remind us how “Mighty Fine” we all are!
I wished I had thought of this letter photo art gift idea long before Gramps passed away. He would have enjoyed seeing his personal saying in the letters made from his hard working tools.
Forget buying another neck tie or wallet for Father’s Day. Use your dad’s hobby like golf balls or tees, fishing lures, favorite sports items memorabilia, or even his tools to spell out “Dad” or “Father” or his favorite saying. This is a great gift idea for birthdays too!
He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it – Clarence Budington Kelland