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As Scene ByBY FREDERICK (RICK) DERUITER, PUBLISHERThis is my favorite photo of my Dad.I am one of the few people who remember him without a beard. He’s working another long day over his drafting table – thinking about the next deadline. He’s not quite 30-years-old, and creating Scene Magazine isn’t even a dream he’s imagined yet.A familiar voice chimes in... “Was I in there last night, and did I spend $20?”4 SCENE 4409 I HEALTH ISSUE20 Minutes“Hi Dad. What do you need?”Dad’s answer back... “How do youknow I need something? Maybe I just wanna talk for a bit.”“Dad, you tried to make me laugh. I know you need something.”My father spent a lifetime acquiring favorite phrases – many of which I’ve shared with you in the past. I knew what was coming next... the forever-always- always-over-used phrase... “Freddie, it’ll only take you 20 minutes.”Add another Dad phrase – Always keep a promise. “Freddie? Remember when I promised to find you a tool you couldn’t live without? Well, I found it at that garage sale. Here it is! Thanks for your help today!”It was always true, the small task would be difficult for him, but should only take me 20 minutes. So I drove over (with tools) and vacuumed the furnace, changed the filter, put a new battery in the thermo- stat, and sanded the carbon from the flame sensor... “You’re all set for winter, Dad.”I may have been 10 or so... the “prom- ised” prize for completing the task he had no intention of doing himself (probably trim the hedges) was going for my first ride on a horse. I collected horse figurines as a boy – they were displayed handsome- ly on shelf above my bed. I had never even stood any closer than the backside of a “real” horse at the county fair.“Freddie?” And here it comes... “Did you bring some tools?” This is the moment that I knew the rest of the day would be spent with Dad... Dad’s.Dad would go on to explain that the riding lawn mower was stuck in the drain- age ditch, and the blade was bent into the ground. He also mentioned that he did me a “favor”– he already bought me a new blade. He also bought me a new post for his mailbox! 20 minutes ALWAYS meant the rest of the day. I fell for it... willingly... every time.I don’t remember the color of the horse, the day of the week, the weather outside, or even the face of the lady who finally agreed to let this strange man’s little boy go for a ride on her horse. I do remember it took nearly all day of knock- ing on farmhouse doors before my Dad finally convinced somebody to give me a ride. I also remember – that my Dad kept his promise.Time for another Dad phrase – “If you weren’t doing this, you’d just be doing something else.”So, here I sit. It’s me, my sisters,my Dad – the spider web of tubes and machinery keeping him alive have been removed and set to the side. There is peace on his face. All of the memories of our times together race by faster than each shallow breath.From the beginning of my time alive– until this very day – I was not shy to complain about the mountain of tasks that my Dad would lay out before me. Lets say I would use language that was less than... well... gentleman-like. Then Dad would say... “Freddie, if you weren’t doing this, you’d just be doing something else.” Okay, FINE, it always made me smile. But it wasn’t what he really meant.“Well Dad,” I thought, “I guess while I clean up your house... you’ll just be doing something else. Do you suppose that you could promise me another 20 minutes?”I picked up my phone... “Hello?”What he really meant was that whileI was spending the afternoon fixing stuff... HE, was going to be doing something else. “Freddie, I’m sure you’ll figure this all out. I need to pick up some washers from the hardware store. I should be back in 20 minutes.”I answered with apprehension...With the tasks completed, and three hours having passed by... I started dab- bling with a couple other fixes around the house as I waited for his return. “Oh, HI DAD! Is your shopping done? I asked sarcastically, “Or did you decide to save money and make your own washers?” We’d both laugh through his half-truths about his trip to the hardware store, then ooh and ahh at the “finds” he picked up at a garage sale on the way home.I love you Dad. I miss you.

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