April Fools Day makes me a little reflective. I think it’s because my dad loved that day. In fact, if it was a holiday, you could make the case that it was his favorite. He was a notorious practical joker and he somehow always pulled something off on family and friends on an annual basis. Sometimes his ploys were simple moments, and other times they were very extravagant.
My dad had a passionate connection to his work. He loved the land and he loved working the land, but none of us questioned that he loved people the most. It was his ability to balance work, play, fun and relationships that set him apart from most of his peers. At his funeral I had five different men tell me that they lost their best friend the day my dad died. There were many reasons that this farmer had such a deep impact on so many people. He had depth, a strength, wisdom, and just a presence that drew people to him. He had an unwavering belief in me and was able to model an unconditional love that I have seen rarely in my life.
But he also knew how to laugh, how to enjoy life, how to create experiences… and how to play hard. I was recently traveled to our family farm and was flooded with memories of the many things he did that in some ways made no sense. He just created space that made life a great ride for many of his friends and family.
When I played baseball as a kid he had equipment that would smooth out the barnyard just to keep a great infield-like surface to practice on. He was one of the first guys in our area to buy a boat and he loved being on the water. He built a little cabin on a lake in 1971 as a place to create some memories. He got a pilot’s license just for fun, and he converted an equipment shed into an indoor basketball court, even though it made a lot more sense to use that space for work.
So when I think of spring and April and April Fool’s Day in particular, I think of a man who did it right.
He worked hard.
He laughed harder.
He played well.
He embraced the moments he was given on this earth.
And he made the journey a lot more fun for all of us.