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Commentary: Take time Sunday to talk with your father

Sunday is the first day of summer as well as Father's Day. Now that is a good combination.

It is a good day for a ballgame or barbecue with your father or even a quick phone call if you can.

Remember that some day you will no longer be able to do so and then you will only be able to remember your father.

This struck home with me one night this week when I was on Facebook. A former co-worker of mine wrote about how much she missed the greatest man she ever knew -- her father. He died three years ago.

I had worked with this young lady and also her father at another newspaper. He loved his family and he was a good man. I know they miss him very much.

I understand those feelings as my own father Budd Boldan died when I was just 18 and in my first quarter of college. The loss of any parent at any time is painful for anyone.

Now my father and I didn't always agree on things. And I often thought I was right and he was wrong. With the wisdom of age and a son of my own, I later learned it was often the other way around -- and that my father was a smarter man than I ever thought.

Now we all can tell a few stories about our fathers -- funny, serious and other tales.

The best story I can tell about my father is his sacrifice for his family. It was something I took for granted and never fully understood until the passage of time.

A year or two after I had started country school in the small town I grew up in, the creamery closed. This and other economic factors played a role in my father's gas station and garage closing. He was in his early 40s and had to find another career.

So he became an iron worker like my older brother, helping build tall buildings, bridges, towers and such. It paid fairly well for a World War II veteran with a high school education.

The biggest drawback for ironworkers is the job dangers. The second is the fact of life on the road where the job is -- be it in at a power plant in Black River Falls, Wis., at a taconite plant on Minnesota's Iron Range or North Shore, at a Twin Cities building project, on the missile bases of North Dakota or at a power plant in Big Stone.

I grew up with family and friends who were iron workers. They traveled in the early Monday morning hours to a job, stayed in rented rooms for the week and returned home at the end of the week to spend the weekend with their family.

Needless to say, many ironworkers don't get to see their families during the week. Sitting in a rented room after a long-day on the job can get old real quick. I have done it a couple times for a few weeks, but never an extended period. In those few weeks, I learned a great deal about my father.

He was an ironworker for more than a decade for three reasons -- to put food on the table, to provide my sister and I stability so we didn't have to move and could continue our education; and that my mother also could continue her education and career as a school teacher.

And he was pretty successful as all three of us eventually earned post-secondary degrees. All those lonely nights and an ironworker days paid really did pay off.

It is something I appreciate everyday at my desk job as an editor. That is also why you often see a photo of ironworkers in my office as well.

So to all the sons and daughters out there, take time Sunday to spend time with your dad or give him a call.

And for those who cannot do so, always remember the good times with and what your dad taught you.