This year, we have been sharing our Labor of Love stories with you. Some have been about products and some have been about personal experiences, but they’ve all reflected on our appreciation for the handmade, the hard-won, and the heartfelt. For Father’s Day, we’re honoring the people who often work the hardest for the least amount of praise — dads.
My dad is here in Portland for a visit. It will be the first Father’s Day my sister and I have spent with him in ages—so long, in fact, that none of us can remember the last time it happened.
Last night, we had bratwurst and sauerkraut for dinner. (We’re Swedish, but never mind that.) After I mentioned that I wanted to start making my own ‘kraut, my dad told us a story we’d never heard before. One of his first jobs—a job he lied about his age to get—was turning sauerkraut for a large food company. Into a vat the size of a mobile home, he would pour 50-pound bags of sugar. Then he would put on galoshes, grab a glorified pitchfork, climb into the vat, and toss the sugar and cabbage together.
While the mental image of my 6’3” dad wading through a gigantic mess of sauerkraut was certainly arresting, what really got my attention was this: my dad is 74 and I’m still just learning about him. It may be Father’s Day, but I think I’m the one receiving a gift.