And not just in a "those holiday socks and thin-lipped coffee mugs look like Liza" sort of way.
No, it is more than reification of personal taste, something more significant than color preferences and quirk appeal actualized.
His barn feels like him...
His menagerie of tools, part and parcel of gifts made and chores done;
his organized chaos, a reflection of jack-of-all-trades inclinations and wildly varied interests.
I see his handwriting on random truck maintenance receipts and horse racing paraphernalia.
I read the labels of medicines used on animals he loved.
I stack hay in the stalls once home to bottle-fed calves, stud horses, and tobacco striping boxes.
I walk a few steps outside and talk to the man buried by the barn he built.
But, it is the tools that remind me most of my father.
Holding them, I see Dad in the thick of some project, a walking advertisement for perfectly-dirty and broken in, feed-mill baseball caps and button-down, denim shirts,
(the lightweight, short-sleeve kind if July, tucked-in and under a puffy red vest if November).
I hear the sound of hammer on nail head...and a funny, strewn-together combination of cuss words.
I watch old wire and fence posts turn into an outdoor play area for Lucy and Willie in a matter of hours.
I smirk in the same way he would when "encouraged" by Mom to sit on the back porch and take off his manure-caked cowboy boots.
So, these tools, tools held by a man I loved deeply and whose death I cannot accept;
tools housed in a barn that looked like him when I was a little tomboy girl "helping" her dad and forevermore will;
tools that have a legacy that should breathe beyond the four walls of that 12X8' feed room-turned-workshop,
today I give to a man who also understands devotion to animals, land, work, and family.
himself to become something growing.
It is his office and workshop, his life and his meaning,
a place that looks like him.
He liked orange power tools,
this I know.
A desk he made into an antique unknowingly,
and he would scoff at such a line.
A daughter who would smile, knowingly,
that all good things come in time.
A daughter that would know him, be him,
conversations in a glance.
A joke the others don’t quite get,
a father and daughter dance…
To say we are alike, the similarities are far and few,
but one thing that old farmer and I know is that
August is proud of you."