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A father’s lasting legacy

Dear Annie: Your solicitation for a Father’s Day story made me contemplate my life. I have been very blessed. My biological father is still with us at 89. He was an example of volunteerism and strength. He was always involved at church and in Boy Scouts.

Unfortunately, he was an alcoholic, but he has been sober for 35 years; he recovered and strengthened his marriage and still attends daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to support the recovery of others.

My childhood friend’s dad had cardiac issues and was disabled. He built his own home and could fix anything. He taught me to be handy and loved to drive around and explore the local area. Another friend’s dad taught me to fish and hunt. He helped me buy my first shotgun 45 years ago.

Another friend’s dad owned a campground. He taught me to drive a tractor and lawn mower. He taught me to use a chainsaw and to fell a tree. Another friend’s dad taught me how to drink responsibly and offered many lessons on life. I was with him moments before a tragic accident that took his life. Again, I have been blessed with so many strong fathers! — Surrounded by Strong Father Figures

Dear Father Figures: Thank you for your letter.

Dear Annie: I have never written to you, but your request asking readers to tell about their fathers inspired me.

My father died when I was 12 years old. I am an only child. He was my best friend. In my short time with him, two things stick out in my mind.

First, he told me when I was 10 that if I never smoked, he would buy me a car when I was 16. He was not around to buy me that car (and my mother could not afford to), but I can honestly say I have NEVER smoked a cigarette or any other form of tobacco. I know my father’s heavy smoking led to his heart attack and early death.

Second, he insisted on checking my fingernails before we sat down at any meal. If my nails were dirty, which they rarely were, I had to go to the bathroom and clean them. To this day, I notice the fingernails of those I share meals with. If they are dirty, it bothers me to no end. I instilled this cleanliness in my children. — Left Me Too Young but With Some Good Lessons

Dear Too Young: I’m sorry for your loss. Your father sounded like a very kind and wise man who taught you some very practical and important life skills and habits.

Dear Annie: My wonderful father left me a legacy of love. He taught me to love God, to treat others the way I wanted to be treated, and to always be honest and have integrity. I lost him at age 21, and I am now 75. I feel his presence to this day, and he makes me smile. — Blessed in Florida

Dear Blessed in Florida: A legacy of love will lead you to a lifetime of happiness and peace.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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