Saturday, July 26, 2014

The slice of bread that changed my perspective




My dad was one of those larger-than-life personalities that insisted that the world stand up and pay attention to him. To say that he had a strong personality is a gross understatement. My mom and all of his children were the center of his universe. 

He was involved in every aspect of my life, and he was the kind of dad that was always in my corner, regardless of whether or not I deserved it. He loved hard and fought hard and lived more in one lifetime than most people could in a hundred. I don't think I fully realized the profound impact he had on my life until he was gone.  

There would be times when I would get so mad at Dad that I wanted to wring his neck and then others times when I felt like my heart would burst from overflowing love for him. Often, the pendulum of those two extreme emotions would swing back and forth in a matter of a few minutes.

So, what does all of this have to do with a slice of bread? I'm about to tell you ...

It may be hard to believe that a slice of bread could have such a strong impact on a person, but that’s what happened to me. Growing up, Dad was always lecturing me about something. He had definite opinions about the seemingly insignificant details of our lives, and he would always voice his opinion loudly. By nature, I am not a confrontational person, so whenever Dad would tell me things, I would simply nod my head, agree with him, and go on my way. Most of the time, I kept my opinions to myself, but nevertheless, I was not easily influenced. The conversation about the bread probably went something like this:  “You need to stop buying that cheap, worthless wheat bread from Walmart. It’s mostly white bread that’s dyed brown to look like wheat.”
            
Yeah, yeah, sure it is. Really? I couldn’t believe that Dad really thought that a manufacturer would go to the trouble of dying something to mimic wheat. He’s really losing it, I thought. Outwardly, I just smiled and said, “Okay, Dad, I’ll be sure and get the good stuff.”

Well, I kept buying the cheap bread. After all, it was a $1.00, and I was a newlywed with barely two nickels to rub together.

I’ll never forget the day when I pulled out that fateful slice of bread and saw streaks. It was one of those out-of-body experiences where everything seemed to bulge and contract around me. Holy Cow! Dad was right! That no-good, cheapskate manufacturer had dyed the white bread to make it look like wheat!

It’s funny how a little thing like bread changed my perception of the world around me. My next thought was, Dad was right about the bread … what else has he been right about? I racked my brain, trying to remember all of the other tidbits of wisdom he’d bequeathed to me over the years.

I would like to say that from that point on, I listened to everything Dad told me, but he was my dad, after all, and what fun would it have been if I hadn’t been a smidgen contrary?


One of the biggest arguments Dad and I ever had was over an onion. He said the yellow onions were more bitter than white ones. Really, Dad? Everyone knows that yellow onions are sweeter … aren’t they? Gee, I don’t think I can take all of this uncertainty.

Dad and my youngest brother Robert.

One of my favorite pictures of the fam. This was taken the day they picked me up from the airport. I had just come home from attending Brigham University in Hawaii.

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