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Thanks Dad

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This morning my dad did something I never thought I would see.   He went to work at Genzink Plumbing where he has worked for 40+ years and put in his last hours.  It’s hard for me because I wanted him to do it on his own terms. 

My dad is a worker.  That’s who he is.  It defines him.  In the best way…it defines him.  He works.  That’s what he does.  It’s what he has done his whole life.   It’s what he loves to do.  He never worked at our expense.  He always included us.  He always taught us along the way.  He took us beside him and showed us what he was doing and if we were lucky, he would let us do it ourselves.  From milking a cow (I never actually did this – yuck), to stacking hay, to sodering a pipe, to sweeping a floor properly, to changing oil in our cars when we were 16. 

He grew up on a farm in South Olive, Michigan and has always been a farm boy at heart.  There is something that lives inside him to work hard for what he has.  Everything my parents have is because they’ve worked hard and have been conscientious with what they do.  They are kind and generous.   They have never hurt anyone to get what they have. 

I have many memories growing up of him receiving phone calls from neighbors, friends, family members, church members or someone in need a plumbing fix.  You know the perils – the water heater is broken, clogged toilet, overflowing something-or-other, the Mr. Fix-it’s trying to do their own work and now need the advice off a master plumber.   No matter what time of day or season – dinner hour (we always ate dinner as a family), or 9:00 at night in the dead of winter.  He would always go and help.  Not with a grudge.  He wouldn’t stomp his feet out the door shaking his head side-to-side mumbling under his breath.  He would do it with a SMILE.  He was happy to help.  He would say so-and-so needs some hot water or their toilet is clogged and they have company coming for the holidays tomorrow.  Off he would go.  Happy as a clam to do something he loved to do.  Work. 

I have more memories of job sites as a kid than what most kids would.  Genzink Plumbing has employed him well over the years and, if I may be so bold, my dad was a good employee.  I remember spending evenings in the warehouse at Genzink’s while dad would organize random parts from boxes to make the boxes complete again.  I remember going along at night with him to job sites while he worked.  I would pretend the poured concrete walls of the new homes were my balance beams and take my roller skates along to ride on the fresh poured floors.  If we were good and well behaved we would stop at the closest ice cream shop for a cone on the way home.  Yum!

It physically pains me to know that he worked his last hours today at a job he has held very well for many years.   I feel like he did it before he was ready because of me and my cancer/prognosis.  I didn’t want it to be like this.  I wanted it to be on his own terms and on his own time.  When he was ready and when he wanted to.  He deserved that much.  He earned it.

Thank you Russ and Rethea, Ross and Rick and the entire Genzink Family and team for working with my dad.  You have blessed him and our family. 

If you happen to see my dad, give him a hand shake, pat him on the back or give him a hug for what he has done. 

Even though his official days at Genzink’s may be behind him, he has a lot of work left in him and I think he’s saving it for his grandchildren. 

I love you dad.

36 Responses to “Thanks Dad”

  1. Jill Graves says:

    Congratulations Mel! On a job well done, and a life well lived.

  2. Claudia Navarro says:

    He did it on God’s timing to help his beautiful daughter because he loves you. I am sure he has no regrets. = ) I feel proud of your dad being that I have a hard working dad in his mid 60’s and he will do anything to help me, my children and my husband. I continue to pray for a miracle and for our Merciful Father to grant you many years of life on this earth. Love In Christ, Claudia

  3. Jana Ver Beek says:

    Don’t feel bad about this, but be happy. Happy that your parents are in the position that this was an option for your Dad. Not all families would have even had the option.
    Your Dad is an exceptional man.
    Now when you’re resting at home you can think of “Mister Msx” following his papa around the yard. 🙂
    Praying for you to have a comfortable day.
    Hugs and Prayers

  4. Amy Sluiter says:

    I will be sure to congratulate your Dad and thank him for his many years of hard work. Your words are a beautiful testmiony to what an incredible hard-working servant your Dad is! I know his life, hard-work ethic, and always-positive attitude have touched and inspired many people. I know he will never stop working and blessing others. It’s so awesome to see how you are following in his footsteps of serving and blessing others. I’m sure he’s more than proud!
    I’m joining Jana in praying you have a comfortable day day today. Lots of love & prayers, Amy

  5. Elaine Lucas says:

    Congrats, Mel! You are an inspiration to many. Lindy, your dad is doing what he wants to do and that is to be their for you and your family. Praise God!

  6. Cara Larsen says:

    Your dad IS doing it on his own terms! He’s choosing to retire when it’s right for him. Right now it is right for him!

    Don’t worry, I suspect there are a few of us out there who will need him for a plumbing job from time to time. I was one of those dinnertime jobs in need of a new water heater as a single gal a few months after I moved into my first house.

    Thanks Mel!!

  7. amykole says:

    Being brand new to reading your blog or any other blog for that matter, I find reading your thoughts a time honored gift. Your words flow as effortlessly onto paper as they would if you were sharing your story with a friend in person. Your words are honest, heart-felt and beautiful. Such a treasure! Ahh Lindy, as you look back years from now with your children and grandchildren at the words you typed so long ago, what a spiritual heritage and a life well lived you will have to share with them. Praising God today for the healing He has granted you by the kind intention of His will and the manifestation of that healing as we speak. 🙂

  8. Matt tibbs says:

    Hi Lindy, I was reading this with my wife and could not help to share one story of your hard working father. We were at your house bored as usual and decided to go to the corn field next door and be very bad boy’s. So Claire my brother and I got in the corn and got ready for the next car to drive by. Then it happened WHAM!!! we hit the car with corn stalks and I remember looking up at your house and seeing your dad re-shingling the roof at like midnight. I was thinking wow that’s a hard working guy as i am running for my life. I could keep going but just thought i would share that with you. Congrats to Mel and your family he is a great guy.


  9. Jill Boeve says:

    Congratulation, Mel on a job well done! Mel did all the plumbing in our home and we have never needed anything fixed in 12 years, thank you Mel. I too remember going along with Mel many times on work sites or to the farm in the evening when us kids had nothing to do. We never worked as hard as him but we had fun going with!

  10. Kathy says:

    Dear Lindy, What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I couldn’t help but think of this scripture –

    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23 & 24

    Your dad is an excellent example of this text. And you have every right to be very proud of him!

  11. Jen TenHarmsel says:

    Lindy –

    Just remember he has not stopped working… I am sure he is now able to spend more of his time doing his favorite job, being a father and grandfather. He now gets paid with hugs, kisses and lots of Thanks! Probably more valueable to him than the money. You have been so blessed to have such a wonderful role model in your life and beyond being successful as a plumber he has been successful at raising one of the most wonderful and inspirational people I know- YOU! So when I see him I will be sure to say Thanks for both! Keep smiling you can do this!

  12. Ryan Genzink says:

    Your dad is an amazing guy!! He has taught me so many things in my first few years working for my dad at Genzink Plumbing. He is someone who will be missed. I will miss seeing him every morning and having him ask how the family is doing. Tell him he better stop in and say hello every once in a while. You and your family are in our prayers!
    The Genzinks

  13. Aunt Carole says:

    Dear Lindy, Thank you for sharing so beautifully about your Dad. I am also so very thankful for being able to call him “family”. My sister always the best of judgment! As you describe him as the best of fathers and a master plumber, I also describe him as a master example of our heavenly Father. He not only showed you a good work ethic growing up, he showed you an awesome example of our Father’s love. No wonder you trust God so wholeheartedly – you had an earthly father you knew you could always trust wholeheartedly. Thank you, Mel, for how you and Loie gave us someone so precious who not only is strong and determined, but a woman of unwaivering faith, a Godly example, and who lives out the love of God with an unending testimony to His sovereignty in her life. You are your father’s daughter, and you are your Father’s daughter. We praise Him for both! Love & Prayers always…

  14. jim t says:

    Hi Lindy and Dusty
    Your Dad was the ultimate in construction, He new his job.
    I will never forget when he worked on my home I was building,
    I walked downstairs into the furnace room and he was working on the hotwater heater, He looked at me when I walked in and said ” don’t mind the smell I think we have a gas leak.” come to find out he admitted it was HIS gas leak.

    That’s your DAD
    Gotta love the guy
    Jim Terpstra

  15. Karen Kamphuis says:

    Your Dad sounds wonderful and I agree with Jana, it was a decision he made on his own and how wonderful that he was able to make that decision especially in this economy. He has been a blessing to many people and will continue to be a blessing! Your kids are so lucky to have 2 Grandpas that love them so much and a Grandma in Heaven who is watching over them (and you!) plus a Grandma still here to take such good care of them when you can’t. Hang in there, we are praying very hard that the radiation kicks those tumors far, far away and that you will be able to enjoy many, many years on this earth, but whatever the future holds, please know that you have a very powerful testimony that God is allowing you to share and your husband, kids, and family can be very proud of the legacy you are leaving!

  16. Melissa Koetje says:

    Lindy and family,
    Congrats Mel !! You are indeed a very hard worker with a BIG smile ! Does not matter on the time of day.
    I had to chuckle at your blog… Living across the street for 5 years from your parents, every time the garage door opens, Mel is off to the call of duty, with a smile on his face. Everyone in the house (that was a witness) says “there goes Mel”. Even when Mel and Lois take walks the twins or watch Brooklyn in the driveway, a smile is bigger than Texas. May God bless his new adventure.
    Our family is blessed to have such great neighbors 🙂
    That includes you too.
    I admire your energy 🙂

  17. Kim says:

    Lindy… Your dad is awesome!! You are right.. he always has a smile on his face and is always willing to help anyone, one of the most selfless people I know!! Now he gets to teach your kids all of those great things he taught you and Clair growing up! Your kiddos are blessed to have such a special grandpa and grandma:)

  18. Lindy says:

    I read Matt Tibb’s comment and laughed so hard because, I too, have a memory of the summer my dad was reshingling their roof.
    I was 16-years-old and just got done with my nightshift at the Dairy Y (now Captain Sundae). I was dropping my friend Jill off at her house. There was one house between Jill’s house and my parent’s house. It was about 10:30 and dark outside. As I was backing out of her driveway, I saw two cars coming eastbound on James Street.

    Being the impatient teenager I was, I did what I saw the older guys and farmer’s do on the other side of my parent’s house – drive on the bike path to avoid James Street traffic.

    I proceeded slowly out of her driveway and turned carefully on the bike path toward home. I was driving about 5 mph when I noticed the two cars I saw coming hadn’t past me yet. Strange. Low and behold, the two cars were riding along side of my because they were two Ottawa County Sherrif cars! I could see them staring at me from their cars into my car. Uh oh…

    I turned into our driveway, pulled into the garage and got out of my car. They got out of their car and began to approach me with hand on hip (I don’t think they were going to shoot me or anything). After we exchanged pleasantries, here comes by dad, bounding down the ladder from the roof of the garage where the roof was lit up with flood lights because he was reshingling at 10:30 at night! “Hi Officers! Beautiful night isn’t is?”, he said. They were taken aback. My dad claimed me as his, not too brilliant daughter at the time, and explained how the farmers on the other side of the house occasionally use the bike path (very carefully of course) when traffic is busy and that I was just following their example. The officers explained it would be a misdeameanor and not to do it again – especially at night when it’s hard to see in the dark. I don’t think I ever drove my car down the bike path again.

    Great officers. Awesome dad. Thanks for getting me out of ticket. Good thing you were on the roof! Nothing like the element of surprise!
    Love you dad!

  19. Lana says:

    Dearest Mel
    We will all miss your happy face. God bless you and Lindy and the rest of your family. We will be praying hard for you all.

  20. Julie says:

    My husband Dan worked with your dad for 11 years at Genzink plumbing. I also got to know your parents through company parties and think so highly of them. Dan came home from work many times with crazy stories about your dad and things that would happen on the jobsite. Dan has alot of respect for your dad-he runs into him from time to time at different places and they always talk about their families. We just wanted you to know that we are praying for your family and especially for you and for complete healing. We are so glad you have so many people helping you out and that your parents are also such a huge blessing.
    Dan & Julie Windemuller

  21. Jill Graves says:

    Mel not only works…but he can also play. Growing up Lindy and I loved to come up with crazy ideas. If it was really crazy the first person we would go to is Mel. I don’t think I ever remember him telling us “no” or “not now” instead it was always “I have twine in the barn for that” or “this plastic in the garage will work.”
    Thank you Mel for always letting our imaginations run wild!

  22. Rick Van Dorp says:

    I read the post from Tibbs and the post from you and it brought back many fond memories. I too remember the your Dad working late into the nights that summer reproofing your house. I also remember the night you took the short cut down the bike path with your car.
    I am not sure who it was, but someone told me they passed your house that night and saw cop cars in the driveway. I remember getting a little nervous hoping everything was ok, so I took a drive past your house later that night and everything was quiet. Your car was in the driveway, there were no cops present and the house was dark. Dark except of course for your Dad’s light on the roof next to him as he was still working hard putting on the new roof on a hot summer night.
    I remember thinking to myself how could anyone work all day and then come home and work well into the night like this day after day. If there were more people like your Dad in this world it would be a much better place.
    Thanks for the fun little trip down memory lane and congrats to Mel on his retirement.
    Keep fighting the fight; I know you are going to win.


  23. Tami Sneller says:

    Lindy – I’m Holly’s sister and I pray for you almost daily. This post about your Dad I whole-heartedly agree with. Living next to Haven CRC there are many-a-times where I smile to myself as I see Melvy working on the snow piles, or something else I’m tinkering with. In fact my kids will often hear me say–there’s Melvy again working at church! He LOVES to work! One of my favorite memories is when the house was razed next door to us, and we were watching your Dad on his tractor working in the front yard. He was working awfully close to the lamppost and I remember thinking…you’re getting too close! Sure enough! Down the post went. We chuckled to ourselves with love for your Dad and his helping hands! 🙂

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