Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Desert Dads

Dads.  You know Dads.  They make bad jokes and watch football and change tires.  There are a million different stereotypes about Dads.  And although Father’s Day is sometimes about that, this post is about real dads, and the ways that they’ve influenced their children’s lives, and the mementos we keep to remind ourselves of them (spoiler alert: they’re all paper).

Today, in honor of the coming holiday, a few Desert employees share the paper tokens of their relationships with their fathers, sons, and daughters.

Charlene, Customer Service Team Leader:

“My dad is the hardest working man I know.  He is a true Cowboy at heart.  The stack of Rodeo Contestant numbers we collected throughout the years may be just a memory now but to me it means the world.  It’s not only just a piece of paper with a number on it but a dream my father fulfilled.  His Rodeo days are over but these pieces of paper are a Legacy that will hang on the wall forever.”

Caitlin, Marketing Assistant:

“My dad and I are close because I decided to play softball in 6th grade.  He coached me from the very beginning, from No, Caitlin, you’re right handed, you have to step with your left foot, to an All-District Medal my senior year of high school, to my failed attempt at NCAA Division III softball.  In 2006, he took me and my sister to the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City.  My sister, three years younger and a soccer player, could not have cared less about softball and went only because our cousins from Texas had planned to meet us there.  Circumstances prevented their arrival, and she was unfortunately stuck with just us and a sport she didn’t care about.  Plus, it was the middle of July, and it was Oklahoma City, so it was hot.  Sticky hot, couldn’t-cool-off hot.  We spent the daytime games eating frozen lemonades and moving to seats that weren’t really ours—the stands were mostly empty because only a few people, like us, were insane enough to go to the daytime games—so we could sit in the shade.  Lisa Fernandez sat across the aisle from us for a few games, and I got her to sign a ball for my catcher.  The pitcher for Great Britain’s national team, Stacie Townsend, was an American high-schooler of British descent, and though the team couldn’t compete (Britain doesn’t play much softball), she hit a home-run during one of their games against the US.  Jennie Finch had just had a baby and wasn’t really playing, but she pinch-hit for one at-bat and as soon as her helmet-hidden head appeared in the on-deck circle the stadium started buzzing with excitement.  It erupted into a full-on roar when she stepped into the batter’s box. 

We had tickets to every game in the tournament, but this is the only one left of an envelope-full.  It is the memory of this trip, a souvenir from a keystone moment in my relationship with my dad.”

Cathy, IT:

“When I was seven years old I made an origami swan for my dad for Father’s Day.  I learned to make them in arts and crafts class that year in school.  My first one was messy.  I hated it.  But I kept practicing until I made a better one, and a better one after that.  The following summer was when I made the one for my dad, and he kept it on his desk until I graduated from high school.  This is not that original swan, this is just a tribute.  The original is gone, lost to time, but it will always remain a constant in my memory.”

Margeaux, Strategic Project Manager:

“Playing cards is the longest-running tradition I have with my dad.  Bored?  Cards.  Raining?  Cards.  Something on our minds but didn’t want to talk about it?  Cards.  Especially when I started to get older, it was a constant when our lives were changing quickly and often.  The suits were always the same, and the rules of cribbage were always the same, and the contents of every deck of cards were, more or less, the same.  The cards were always a way to find comfort in each other’s company.”

Josh, Purchasing Coordinator:

“My 3 year old son, Paxton, came to my office several weeks ago to find out what daddy does at work.  After I walked him around the plant, and showed him the big machines, and told him all about making envelopes, the questions started. 

‘Daddy, what’s an envelope?’ 
‘Daddy, why do you make envelopes?’ 
‘Daddy, what do you do with the envelopes?’

            At this point, I launched into a description of the mail system, explaining how a person, virtually anywhere in the world, can use envelopes to send things to anyone else, anywhere else, in the entire world.  I could see the gears turning in his head.  It was like explaining a magic trick to a mystified audience. 

                                    ‘Daddy, can I put myself in an envelope to go to Grandma’s?’
                                    ‘No son, not anymore.’
                                    ‘Daddy, can I get mail?’

            Now, that was a great idea.  We sat down together at the kitchen table and began to compose his very first piece of mail.  He drew a picture of the world.  I drew a chicken.  He sealed the letters in the envelope, signed his name on the back for good measure, and put a stamp on it.  I sent the envelope off a few days later and told him to keep an eye on the mailbox. 

                                    ‘Daddy, it’s here!’ he screamed from the driveway.
                                    ‘Well, you better open it!’

            Watching him open his first, very own piece of mail was amazing.  Something I do on a daily basis, which has become so mundane and commonplace, now suddenly had a renewed sense of excitement and anticipation.  The smile on his face was one of pure joy.  So the next time you open an envelope, imagine the happiness this simple piece of folded paper can bring to a person!”

This article is dedicated to Orvis V. Creel, founder of Desert Paper & Envelope, Co. and father to CEO Ella Leeper.  Today would have been his 78th birthday.

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