Coffee With My Dad

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine. I’m partnering with Folgers® at Walmart through the Share A Cup & A Story campaign, to create personal connections with Veterans and honor their service to our country.

OMG I can hardly believe I have been blogging at BFFF since 2011 and NEVER introduced my dad over here. 6 years later, I think it’s FINALLY time – don’t you?! I am the youngest of my siblings and the only girl! ;) My dad had me later in life. He was 46 when I was born and things never slowed down since! ;) Because my dad had me in his mid-forties, it felt like he lived a WHOLE entire lifetime before I was born. It’s hard to believe there are so many things about his life that I still do not know. ;)

I always knew that my dad was in the military, but I really had no idea exactly what he did or the details of his experience.  My dad’s military past wasn’t something that was mentioned often, but we ALL knew he was a veteran. When Folgers® and Walmart asked me if I had a veteran in my life, I raised both hands and told them about my dad, my father in-law, and my grandpa too! As I was explaining more in-depth about my dad, I began to feel sad because I didn’t know the fine details of what he did….

I always say time is the very best gift you can give someone, so I invited my parents to come alllll the way over to my house (they live an entire 2 minute drive from us). ;) I brewed a fresh pot of Folgers Classic Roast and alongside a few muffins, ended up asking my dad a million questions about his life that were years overdue. I made a joke to my parents (who have been married for 43 years) to wear pink and they actually did! I was cracking up!

Over coffee, my dad told me all about his experiences while serving in the military from 1958-1961. He was only 18 years old. He served as a Diplomatic Courier. He made $98.00 a month for being on duty 24/7. He carried secret documents. So secret, they actually had handcuffs attached to his wrist so no one could take the briefcase with the secret documents from him. Can you imagine?

My dad shared with me how when you enter the service, they give you many aptitude tests to identify your strengths. After completion, my dad was paged to report to the auditorium. There were twenty-five guys seated in the room. After much apprehension, the instructor announced, “Everyone in this room is qualified to do counterintelligence CIA work. You will be wearing suits instead of army fatigues. It’s not for everyone, but it’s very rewarding.” Next the instructor said, “Anyone who is NOT interested in this line of work, you may leave.” My dad was the only person out of twenty-five people who left. He was intimidated to wear a suit. To this day, my dad is truly a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy at heart. Even as a successful business-owner, I don’t remember my dad EVER once in a suit. He has always been very down to earth.

After my dad left the first orientation, he was called to a second orientation where he was offered a position as a Diplomatic Courier. He accepted the challenge and served Secret Service documents all over Germany. He had his own driver who chauffeured him around. From Frankfurt to Baumgarten, and anywhere else in Germany where there were military posts, my dad traveled all around the country.

Naturally, I was so curious what kind of food he ate while in the military. My mind is ALWAYS thinking about food! :) He ate hot dogs every single day.  Another classic my dad loved was a recipe called “SOS.” Apparently, most of the guys didn’t really like it, but my dad on the other hand said he could not get enough of it. It was a cream sauce mixed with hamburger meat. Sometimes he would eat 6-7 plates because everyone would give him their leftovers. Can you imagine?!  And  if he had any room for dessert, he would eat pies, cakes, and chocolate bars!!! Now I am so hungry I cannot stand it as I am typing on my laptop from my living room sofa. ;)

So my dad ended up serving in the military for three years. He actually ended up staying for an additional three months and ten days after his exit date because the Berlin Wall was built and they predicted there was going to be a war so everyone served longer than what they initially planned to. Because of the delay, he was excused from Reserve meetings which you usually have to attend seven years after being in the military.

My dad told me that the military made him more responsible and he met some wonderful friends. I have no doubt my dad’s military experiences have molded him to be the smart and responsible entrepreneur and dad he is today! I can now piece together some of those wonderful qualities that have passed on to me too! ;)

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to ask my parents about life before ‘me,’ as one day they may not be here to talk about the things that molded them into the amazing people I love. I am so thankful for this opportunity as I learned SO much about my dad, and I feel even closer to him. =)

Photo Credit

Photography for Best Friends For Frosting by Jenn Bartell

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