I am my father’s son

By Bruce Stambaugh

My son has been trying not so subtly to tell me this for a long time. I am my father’s son.

What he means of course is that I act just like my late father did. Out of principle, I deny it of course, or at least I did. I didn’t think I was like my father at all, especially not his bad points.

Stambaugh men by Bruce Stambaugh
My older brother, Craig, our late father, Richard "Dick", and myself at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

I could clearly see that both my older and younger brothers each had many of Dad’s characteristics. The older is outgoing and antsy. The younger most physically resembles Dad, and is an avid sportsman.

But me be like Dad. No way. Dad wasn’t the best driver. I was once a certified driver education teacher. Dad was consistently late. I like being early. I wasn’t like my father at all, or so I thought.

As I have aged, I have humbly swallowed my pride. I realize that my son is right, although I probably don’t exactly see the resemblances that he sees.

I love some of the same things my late father did: nature, history, geography, travel, sports, antiques, community involvement, a sense of humor, and family. Dad poured his entire being into activities and organizations that revolved around those topics. That was especially true after he retired.

Dad helped found, foster and lead a private sportsmen’s club. He served on a regional planning board for 36 years. I wonder how much Dad’s involvement influenced my own participation in the organizations and institutions with which I affiliated over the years.

Dad’s love of travel took our family on many day trips to art and history museums, parks and other points of interest around the state. We got to know Ohio well.

That desire to explore and learn rubbed off onto me. My wife and I traveled with our two children, and like my own youthful experiences, many of our jaunts were day trips throughout the Buckeye State.

Dad wasn’t afraid to venture beyond Ohio’s boundaries either. He would travel with our mother when she attended out of state art classes. While Mom painted, Dad scoured field after field for Native America artifacts, one of his favorite pastimes.

In the evening, when it was time to share what each artist had accomplished, Dad was invited to show what he had found. Of course, he had to expound on the exact type of artifact, how it was used, and made. Dad knew a lot, much of it self-taught.

Storm clouds by Bruce Stambaugh
The backside of a severe thunderstorm.

My special hobby is the weather, especially extreme weather. I enjoy watching storms, and telling others about them. When people’s eyes start to glaze over, I realize it’s time to quit. That never bothered my father, however.

Dad taught me the value of preserving the old things, especially if the items happened to have been in the family. He and Mom gave my wife and I several well worn but personally valuable antique pieces that go back three family generations.

Dad’s handwriting was hardly legible. Mine is worse. Dad often mispronounced words. He always exchanged a “l’ for the “n” in chimney. When I catch myself garbling words, or more likely, when my son catches me doing that, my thoughts happily connect to Dad.

There it is. I gladly acknowledge that for better or for worse, I am my father’s son. I wonder if my son realizes he is, too.

Siblings by Bruce Stambaugh
The Stambaughs, Craig, Claudia Yarnell, Jim, Elaine Barkan, our mother Marian, and me.

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

4 thoughts on “I am my father’s son”

  1. When Nathan doesn’t realize it, I happily point it out. Here are two examples: Nathan is a wonderful and thoughtful husband, always going out of his way to be romantic or make sure I’m comfortable. I became so much more aware of where he learned these traits after Grandpa Stambaugh’s eulogy, and realizing how much he adored your mother. Another habit of Nathan’s…he can be very deliberate. As in pausing before he does something, when I want to say, just do it already! 🙂


  2. Love it! So true how the subtle behaviors, habits or pronunciation of our parents and family can rub off on us. I recently lost my grandpap, who was an avid farmer and Amish country lover. We took many trips to Kidron Ohio together and I cherish those moments. I smile each time I remember the way he would pronounce battery by conveniently leaving out the “ter” thus making it “batt-re.” Thanks for the post and beautiful site!


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