Dave Arnold’s 80 years old today!!!!
Today is Dad’s 80th birthday! Yes, friends, a man known to most in Putnam County (Indiana), my best man in my wedding, and my father is crossing over another milestone today. Like many crossing such a milestone, 80 years are beginning to take their toll on this old man’s physical body. That being offered, he’s still a kid at heart and has an unforgettable smile.
While Dad has taught me much along the way, for sure the core values that stand out for me are integrity, honesty, and hard work. Anyone knowing Dave Arnold would never question these being core values in his life. As his children, I can remember having these modeled and emphasized at a very young age.
One of the family stories when it comes to Dad and I related to honesty centers around some circumstances when I was in 1st grade. For those who know me now, I’m sure you can envision what a well behaved child I was. Well, as the story goes, one day I was in my 1st grade class getting a bit restless with my teacher. It seems I’d felt she’d gone on long enough that day and with my type “A” personality, I had no issue voicing this to her. I’m not really sure what went wrong; however, evidently she didn’t appreciate my feedback. We had a rather intense discussion in the hallway and, before you know it, I found myself in the principles office with my parents on their way. Not a place most want to find themselves and clearly not if your last name is Arnold.
As Dad and Mom arrived, I don’t remember a lot of conversation but I do remember leaving school with them and being sentenced to my room. With our owning a commercial laundry and dry cleaning business, Home Laundry and Cleaners, Dad needed to return to work that afternoon. He told me I needed to reflect upon a few things and we’d discuss it when he got home that evening.
As evening came, it seems that the key topic brought to light was that I’d lied to my teacher about turning in some papers (or something of that effect). All I remember is my belief that I wasn’t lying and his position that I was. He continued to give me opportunity after opportunity to confess; yet, even to this day, I wasn’t sure I lied about anything. That being said, I didn’t convince the judge otherwise and thus had to endure the punishment. I was paddled, grounded for a month, had to write 100 times “I will not lie to my teacher”, and apologize to my teacher the next day. Now, some may wrestle a bit with this punishment in today’s world; however, recognize the lifelong impact it’s had on me. Honesty has rarely been in question for Chris Arnold from that day forward!!!
Integrity for Dad is much the same. You simply never have to guess where Dad stands and can trust that he’ll always endeavor to do the right thing. If Dave Arnold made a commitment to you, his word was (still is) as good as gold. You did’t need an attorney and several hundred words of contractual document. His “firm” handshake was more than enough.
While they are all likely weighted similarly when it comes to level of importance, I’d have to say hard work stands out among them all. Our biggest challenge today with Dad being 80 years old and not having the physical capabilities he once had is encouraging him in those aspects of work he likely shouldn’t be partaking. Again, there are numerous stories that come to mind centered around Dad’s work ethic; however, I’ll offer one coming to mind today.
Like many, Dad had the America Dream of owning his own business. His parents owned an insurance business that, given the circumstances, was not a direction he chose. After a few years in corporate sales, Dad and Mom had the opportunity to buy, Home Laundry and Cleaners, in Greencastle, IN. Dad and I, as well as the rest of the family, grew up around the laundry. Dad provided for us at a level well beyond the average lifestyle. During the blizzard of 1978, Dad walked through snow drifts taller than he in order for the sheriff to pick him up, take him to the laundry, so that he could insure the boiler was still operating while sleeping there for a few nights. This is simply one example of his commitment.
Then, in 1987, IBM closed their Greencastle location. Per the Banner Graphic, “The impact of that decision on the community was not just the loss of 985 jobs, but also the loss of 20 percent of the assessed valuation, 40 percent of all local jobs and 70 percent of the industrial payroll.” With the majority of those jobs being “white collar” with suits and ties that needed dry cleaned, you can imagine what happen to the local laundry and dry cleaner. Whether it was the beginning of the fall or simply one huge nail in the coffin, these events definitely attributed to a downward spiral. Yet, I never recall Dad getting overly anxious and simply remember him continuing to stay the course.
With both my sisters either just completely college or in the mist and my going off to college in 1987, you can imagine the stress and strain on Dad and Mom. Beyond the financial crises, they found themselves without some hard working hands they’d raised to help around the business. Fortunately, Mom had an opportunity arise to open a clothing store which aided in easing the burden. Dad also picked up a second job as laundry foreman at the local prison.
Then, 1992, events transpired which as of today I would say the family still experiences as a betrayal for which I know deep within Dad’s likely had to wrestle over the years. On one stormy night, the roof collapsed on an old wore down building which we leased and was the home of the laundry. Due to “fine print” in his lease contract, our family was responsible for the damages of which the insurance company took no responsibility. As with everything, there are two sides to the story for which Dad with his honesty and integrity decided to let go and move on. Likely important to note, they chose not to file bankruptcy at a time many would have chosen to do so.
With his days of self-employment behind him, Dad fully committed to working full-time for the Indiana Department of Correction. Also, along the way, he picked up an opportunity as a cashier at the local convenience store. While I don’t remember all the dates, I do remember the IDC having to encourage him to retire in his 70s for which he did, yet, kept his convenience store job up until the last few years where he’s simply not been physically able. Friends, this is only one story of a hard working man that set an example for the generations to come!
So, this year, we’re attempting to do something special for DAD! If not already, we’d like you to join us in showing our love for him by flooding his mailbox with well wishes!! As my sister has said, “If you can send a card to him I’m sure your thoughtfulness will bring a smile: PRICELESS!” Dad likely won’t be able to read them; however, Mom will insure he gets them. His address is:
1111 E Country Villa Rd
Cloverdale IN 46120
Dad, today, I hope you realize the awesome husband, father, grandfather, colleague, and friend you’ve been to numerous people. Like so many examples in scripture, you don’t have to preach faith. You’re actions have spoken louder than any words a man could preach from the pulpit.
Love ya Dad!
Tiger (aka your son)