Iron Fist

October 29, 2008
He lumbered up the steps, and approached the front door. He grasped the doorknob leaving behind a grimy finger print. He walked into the house, tracking in many hours of dirt that was engraved into the tread of his boots. He set his lunch pale down on the bench and moseyed his way to the step that leads to the kitchen. He sat down slowly releasing a big sigh of relief, and began untying his laces that were stiff from all of the dirt that they encountered. His work day was finally over, and his stomach was shouting out. He skipped lunch because as he mumbled, “There wasn’t enough time to sit and eat, but I ate my apple on the way home.” My mom and I shook our heads but luckily in his favor dinner was ready, and the table was set. He asked, (as he pulled out his chair at the dinning room table) “Am I to dirty to sit down?” We nodded no because we knew he just wanted to relax after a strenuous day.

My dad is a working man, he leaves the house when the sun is glistening off of the dew, and arrives home as the moon says “Hello”, to the bats. He puts in roughly twelve hours a day working and he never complains. My dad is one intelligent man when it comes to equipment. He can, quite literally, take apart an excavator and repair it. He never forgets a bolt and always finds the problem. Mechanic is not the label he likes to be referred as, he likes to be called “Iron fist.”

He says ever since he was little his nickname was “Iron fist.” I laugh every time I hear this nonsense, but to me it holds true for him. He is ridged and tough, but is always there for me when I need help. He never gets mad, but you can always tell when he’s upset. My dad is so inspiring. I always try to do my best to make him proud of his youngest daughter.

As we sit at the dinning room table my dad recalls stories of his day at work. I chuckle to myself, because I can’t imagine working with him. He likes everything done right; it has to be perfect and reliable. He can’t stand it when a co-worker gets in his way and can I say, I’ve heard many of stories of this happening. My dad is intimidating. He is broad, muscular, and stands tall. I would not want to interfere with my dad at the wrong time, while he’s working because something might go down.

When I introduce myself, I always mention that I am the daughter of Bill Tyler. When people hear this (that know of my dad) I always get compliments of his working habits. They tell me that he is very talented at what he does. I often hear stories that start off like this “Oh… I can’t remember the year, but I worked with your dad up at Smuggs. It was about -10 degrees outside and we had to weld pipe. I can remember our hands being so cold we couldn’t grasp the welding rode, but we kept truckin’ along. You know what? You are a lucky young lady to have Bill as your dad.” Hearing stories like this makes my heart flutter. I get a tingly feeling in the pit of my stomach, like the butterflies you get on a first date.

I have always been a daddy’s girl ever since I can remember. I used to carry my red, NASCAR shaped tool box around to “help” him while he was working. I would dress in denim overalls with my little work boots poking out from underneath the cuffs, like mice sticking their heads out of their holes. Rubbing dirt on the knees or sitting in grease was a regular occurrence if I was in the garage with him; I used to do it because that’s what he had all over his pants. When we were working if one speck of grease was on my hands I used to run over to the corner of the garage, put my hands under the giant orange dispenser and pump Orange Cleaner into my hands. I would rub it all over to get every speck off and then skip over to the rag container, pick up a rag and dry my hands. The order was always the same because that’s how my dad did it, but he tended to wait until his hands were covered in grease. I used to sport the “dirty working girl” outfit every time my dad and I ran to the parts store. I used to sit tall in the middle seat of his pickup truck and copy his every move. Now at seventeen everyone still considers me a daddy’s girl. I still wear the work boots and I don’t mind when my hands get dirty. He has taught me that true work comes from hard labor. I love spending time with him, even if it’s only for an hour. I enjoy every second listening carefully to his stories about growing up and work. Even though I’m not little anymore I still copy his every move.

When I look at my dad I can’t see the dirt smudged against his check, all I can see is how much he has affected my life. He has taught me to follow my dreams and not to worry what other people think. He has shown how hard you need to work to provide for your loved ones. I know I will always be able to count on my dad no matter what happens. I don’t care that he doesn’t come home in a suit and tie with polished dress shoes on everyday. He is the hardest working man I know and I respect him and the dirt he tracks into the house.

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