It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.

– John Sinor

I really like that quote but in my home, it probably would have read “shooting” rather than shopping!

Does it count as “shopping” if your dad has you drive him to Walmart for yellow golf balls and an electric razor cleaning cartridge?

I did that last week after Dad and I went to the Gun Shop to sell the remainder of the guns that my late husband, Lou, left to the family.  Lou was an Expert marksman and he loved his weapons and ammunition. Before he passed away, we had a good-sized arsenal – he took being prepared to the max and he was well trained so I was good with it.  However, it’s taken me over 9 years to part with them, partly for sentimental reasons and partly for logistical reasons, so Dad and I set the date and we stuck with it.

At the gun shop, we had to decide to SELL or just to CONSIGN the guns.  I had reconciled with myself that it was time to SELL, outright, and just put the process behind me.  Dad wasn’t so sure because memories of selling HIS father’s cherished guns held a different place for him than this did for me.  Dad remembers HAVING to sell his father’s guns to help pay for college. My grandfather passed away suddenly and my dad was thrown into being the “Man Of The House” and that meant providing for his mom, his sister and himself.  The stress that placed on a busy 23 year old must have been overwhelming but I’m sure it was never SEEN by anyone just FELT by my dad. He still regrets HAVING to sell those guns and I think his stories just delayed our process!

Dad told Martha at the gun shop all about his father and how they used to go to the range together.  My grandfather was a man of few words. My dad loves to talk! My grandfather didn’t play many sports.  My dad played everything from soccer to golf and he, on occasion, would grace us with a huge belly flop in the pool!  He still plays golf 2-3 times a week and except for getting frustrated that he can’t hit as long as he did over the years, he’s an accomplished golfer.

My grandfather worked very hard as a chemist and his “free time” was spent shooting.  My dad was “The Painless Dentist” in our small town of Woodstock, Vermont and his free time was spent with the family or with his best buddies on the tennis courts or at the golf club.  The time my dad and his father spent together was rare but priceless –Dad’s greatest wish has always been that they had had more time together. I’m sure my grandfather had the same wish.

My dad will be 90 years old in September.  He has outlived his father by almost 40 years and he has been grateful for every year since he turned 50.   I truly believe that any time spent with my Dad is creating a memory that will stay with me throughout all eternity and Dad will find a special place in heaven waiting for him when he gets there – but he doesn’t have to hurry to get there!

Many years ago Dad, John Garrett Butz, and I started doing family history together.  Dad loved researching anybody whose last name was BUTZ. He was fearless when picking up the phone to call all of the BUTZ listings in the phone book – yes kids, there was a whole book with phone numbers (the White Pages) and advertisements (The Yellow Pages) and everyone had a copy delivered to their door!  In addition to the phone book being a terrific resource for phone numbers, it also was a great booster seat for the little guys who couldn’t reach the dining room table from a “regular” chair!

On to family history – One time Dad reached out to Dave Butz, a former defensive tackle in the National Football League.  When Dad connected, Dave was playing for the Washington Redskins, one of Dad’s favorite teams. Dad loved to tell everyone stories that Dave Butz was related to us – it might have been true, but very distant cousins!  I’m sure Dad was watching the Redskins in the Super Bowl XXII and laughed at the victory parade following when Dave famously shouted to the crowd, “We came, we saw, we kicked their Butz!” Dave retired from the NFL in 1988 and has since been a consultant and board member for the National Rifle Association – another fun fact that Dad appreciated!

So, back to shopping and how the internet has become our best friend!  I did not get the shopping gene from either of my parents to my daughter’s consternation when she was a teenager.  When I need something I research the best place to get it at the best price and off I go with no deviating or window shopping on the way!  Amazon has really become my “go to” place to shop along with Lands End! I guess Dad did the same investigative work with golf balls and the electric razor cleaning cartridges the other day.  He knew which Walmart to go to and which aisle to find things in. I was impressed with the “old guy’s” shopping skills! I loved the experience of accompanying Dad on this adventure just because I got to hear more of his stories – and even though I hear them over and over and over again (!), I realize that one day he won’t be here in person to tell them to me and I want to remember them and remember HIM telling them to me.

I have a plaque in my office that has a picture of me and my kids and it says “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.”  No man has ever said on his death bed that he wished he could have spent more time at the office. He might, however, have lamented that he didn’t spend more time with those whom he loved and who loved him.

The older I get the more I truly understand that sentiment.  I am truly blessed to have both my mom and dad alive and kicking me around the golf course and the swimming pool!  I am truly blessed to hear their many stories of days gone by and of days to come. I love sharing Face Time moments with them and the great-grandkids and the most fun days include my Dad and I answering phone calls from customers who love to ask “Debby, how long have you worked for Dr. Jack?”  I guess they don’t know that I own the company and Dad works for me, so I just say “All my life!!!!” and I’m grateful for that.

So this Father’s Day, remember that shopping and shooting moments are to be treasured.  Conversations are to be counted as priceless because you NEVER know when you’re going to have your last.  Be positive. Be passionate. Be present.

Debby Montgomery Johnson, President, and CEO at BenfoComplete.