Tom Steinbach would have turned 74 on Sunday. He died on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 — the day before Thanksgiving. He was 69. Not a day has gone by since then that I haven’t thought about him. I was reminded of him this morning at a ribbon-cutting ceremony the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry held for Professional Safety Solutions.
It was cold this morning and the cold may have kept a few people from attending the ribbon cutting. But Bob Allbee, the acting president of Muscatine Community College, said the sun was shining so it was a good day.
This was something my dad used to tell my siblings and me a lot. It could have been 20 below on a Saturday in January. My brothers and I would have been griping up a storm. And all Dad would have said was: “Ah, it’s a great day. The sun is shining and the wind isn’t blowing.”
Of course, he said this while usually only wearing an insulated Carhart sweatshirt and a vest, long-sleeve work shirt, jeans, long johns, overshoes, gloves and a hat. I don’t remember about my brothers, but I’d have on coveralls and all the clothes I could put on. And I’d still freeze.
But Dad was right about one thing: Those were good days. I’d like to have some more of them.
It’s been the kind of day Dad would have appreciated. Not much has been going on at work, so we cleaned. Well, actually Cheryl Estabrook and MCSA Executive Director Maggie Curry started cleaning Wednesday. I think that may have something to do with the 10 plastic lemons (trust me, there really are 10) pictured above. It seems as if the lemons wind up in my office whenever someone starts cleaning. This, I think, is because there is no better place to put them. After putting them out of my sight a few times only to have them return, I decided to join Cheryl and Maggie if I can’t beat them. At least when it comes to the lemons.
So I went and found a basket and sort of arranged it all on the small conference table in my office. I’ve decided to use it to keep the real fruit that is usually in my office. If you come to visit, just don’t try to eat the lemons.
Now it’s fairly likely that Dad knew even less than I do when it comes to artfully arranging artificial fruit. But I didn’t stop there — I cleaned and organized the rest of my office, including the desk.
The old man would have understood that. Back on the farm, on the days when we absolutely couldn’t find something better to do, we cleaned. The shop need cleaned. Or the scrap-iron pile needed to be organized and the weeds around it needed cut. If you couldn’t work outside, well, it never hurt to hit the hog-farrowing barn with the high-pressure washer. Or, … well, you get the idea.
It may have been only 10 degrees in Muscatine. And it was too windy for my tastes. But the sun did shine and I got some cleaning and organizing done while thinking about my dad.
Overall, that’s a pretty good day.