My dad was my first hero...

I learned most everything from my dad. Before there was TV we had lots of time to talk and do things together. Things that were ordinary and common place for dad just astounded me and most of the time I was ‘all eyes and ears’ as he taught me things every little boy ought to know. These times were invaluable to me as I matured and had children of my own, many answers to life’s questions didn’t present the problems some dads face today. I attribute this to one-on-one time spent during the tutorage of my dad.

dad looked for wood with odd shapes
dad looked for wood with odd shapes

Everyone can whittle...

Like most little boys I guess I watched my dad intently do just about everything. I tried to imitate or duplicate the things I saw him do. A great part of my education can be ascribed to mannerisms and words of wisdom I gleaned from my father either directly or indirectly as I followed him with youthful intensity from daylight to dark. My dad taught me how to throw and catch a ball, how to bat, how to run; he even taught me how to fall and roll so as not to get hurt when my body made impact with the ground, how to climb and swim and swing. All the things every little boy needs to know and the talks we had were learning experiences. Some of our best talks were had as we whittled, which was something else he showed me. I say showed because my dad was a good whittler and I never did quite master this art, I did enjoy carving little miniature animals and people. Dad said everyone was not cut out to carve, but everyone could become a whittler, so I was content to whittle while he carved.

Did you ever whittle?

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He saw the figure before he started carving...

Dad would look around for a piece of wood maybe bent or with an odd shape and fashion that piece into a bear or little old man.  Sometimes it would be a wild animal of some sort.  He said he actually saw the figure before he started carving but I never could.  And of course while we whittled we would talk.  It didn’t matter what we talked about.  Sometimes it might be a story while other times it was something he just wanted to tell me or something he felt was important for a father and son to talk about.  As we worked he was always reminding me that a knife will cut you, and you were to cut away from yourself as much as possible.  I found that was not always possible and after I cut myself a few times I became more and more aware of the sharpness of the different blades, their shapes and the different uses of each blade .

dad carved comic strip characters on wooden clothespins
dad carved comic strip characters on wooden clothespins

Guess who got to sweep up...

There’s a lot of ‘shavings’ made when two are whittling and mom was always onto us to clean up our own messes. Guess who got that job? Most of the time I just cut shavings off a limb or pieces of scrap wood as we talked while dad was a lot more selective in choosing his. If he didn’t have a lot of time some days during our times together, Dad would whittle on old one piece wooden clothespins, carving faces of comic strip characters. He even carved my initials on a yo-yo that I had won at school, and taught me how to make a whistle out of a maple branch in the spring. I loved to watch the small figures take shape in his hands. Most of them were just two or three inches high when finished.

As I grow older now I occasionally find myself looking back on the simpler things like talks with dad while whittlin’. I find I answer similar questions today, the same way my dad answered me so many years ago...

© 2011 SamSonS

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Comments 17 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Wonderful Hub!

I had a similar Dad who taught me much the same things. He was no artist, but he liked to whittle. He whittled a cage with a loose ball inside out of single block of wood. It was a marvel of patience and the ball is perfectly round. I still have it!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Will for faithfulness, for your positive ratings and for sharing your kind reminisce with your dad. I searched and searched for some of the small pieces but to no avail, I think I still have the old yo-yo though, I showed it to my kids when they were younger..

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I should have watched that video! There's the cage and ball like Dad made!

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

God Bless you dad and good daddies everywhere. My grandpa was a whittler. Thanks for a good Hub.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks James for stoppin' by, always good to hear from you...

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

samsons1: How fortunate you were to be able to share time with your dad. My dad worked the night shift so I never got that opportunity, but I did get time with mom and from her I learned how to cook, plus so much more.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Dave for you nice comments. I likewise learned from my mom how to cook, sew, crochet and memorize scripture...

Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I remember my grandfather carved and whittled objects out of wood when I was a small child, brings back wonderful memories of a much simpler time. It sounds like your dad knew how to spend "real" quality time with his son. Lucky you. Thank you for sharing such a heart warming story. Awesome Hub

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Becky for your most gracious comments and ratings. I feel very fortunate...

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


I love the part about you and your Dad's relationship. That's as it should be.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks so much lifegate for your kind words. Things are certainly a lot different in homes and parenting these days...

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great hub about Whittlin' and the even more important part about bonding with your dad. Enjoyed the video. Thanks!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you Peggy for stopping by and for your favorable comments...

Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

This bring me memories like yours. Thank you for taking me on trip!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you so much Angela for stopping by and commenting on this hub. Feel free to look around and I hope you find others you like as well...

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I liked the title of this hub and wanted to take a read. How nice that you talk about your relationship with your dad and that you developed such a kind relationship over the carving processs.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you Christy for stopping by today and reading this and for taking the time to add your comments of kindness and approval. Yes, my dad was a very special person and loved his children deeply. It's been nearly sixty years ago since this happened but I can still remember our good times...

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