A Father's Day Tribute from the Founders

A Father's Day Tribute from the Founders

As Father's Day approaches, we delve into the world of the remarkable duo behind Product of the North, Adam Rode and Dawn Rode. Beyond their entrepreneurial endeavors, Adam and Dawn share a deep appreciation for the role their fathers played in shaping their lives and the profound impact they had on their journey as individuals and business owners. In this special blog post, we have the privilege of sitting down with Adam and Dawn as they reflect upon the cherished memories they hold of their fathers. Join us as we explore the wisdom, love, and lessons passed down through generations, and witness the bond between father and child that continues to inspire the remarkable work of Product of the North. Get ready for a heartfelt Q&A that pays tribute to the extraordinary fathers who influenced their lives and serves as a beautiful celebration of Father's Day.  Let's dive in and see what Adam has to say about his father, Steve. 

Steve Rode and his boys with bicycles in front of an old 70's van

Q: What are some of your fondest childhood memories of your father that you cherish to this day?

A: Some of the fondest memories I have is going camping with my dad and my brothers in our old 1968 Aloha Travel Trailer. On our camping trips, he would teach us how to tie knots, fish for trout, and how to properly build a campfire. I’ll never forget mornings in our old camper with dad making bacon and scrambled eggs and drinking cocoa out of my favorite Star Wars Boba Fett travel mug that he bought me. I can still taste that cocoa from that mug. Every summer we would travel to beautiful campgrounds throughout the PNW and enjoy quality time together working on scouting merit badges and riding bikes with my dad.

Q: How did your father shape your upbringing and contribute to the person you are today?

My dad really taught me the importance of being a hard worker. Even as a young kid we always had chores for us to do and big yard projects that had to be done before we could go play with our friends. Today I find myself constantly reflecting on how he instilled the importance of hard work and how and to follow through with something you started. In all honesty, I don't think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for my dad instilling this foundation. As a father today - this foundation is what has got me here and continues to be my ethos in life. 

Adam and Steve Rode

Can you describe a significant milestone or achievement in your life where your father’s presence and support made a difference?

One of my biggest milestones at a young age was to be an Eagle Scout. My dad would remind us the importance of accomplishing something that will help you stand out from the crowd. Although he didn’t accomplish this goal in his life, he felt this milestone was something important for us as brothers to accomplish. I would have never achieved this without my dad pushing me and challenging me to do hard things. To this day, I am still proud of this achievement, and I still have my merit badge sash and original scouting shirt with all my accomplishments and badges. Each one of those badges and that shirt, represents the memory of what my father Instilled in me, and I cherish this symbol as a gift he gave me.

How do you continue to honor and celebrate your father’s influence and impact on your life as you navigate being a parent? 

The best way for me to honor and celebrate my father’s influence is to be the best father I can just like my father was to me. Showing compassion and love during the hard times and being my children's biggest fan when they excel and accomplish things that are hard. My dad was always present in my life, and he worked extremely hard to provide me and my brothers a loving home, a roof over our heads, and food on our table to share. But most of all, he was always there when I needed him the most. If there is anything that I can pass on to my children, it is that success isn’t defined by how much money you make or the things you acquire. Success is built through the hardships and challenges in life that you face and overcome. These successes shape and define who you are by being a good person that people respect and love is the greatest success. My dad is the muse of my life and I love him more than he will ever know.

Adam pays a touching tribute to his dad, highlighting the profound impact he had on his life. Now, we shift our focus to Dawn as she shares her own reflections and memories of her father, Bob. 

Bob and Dawn at a waterpark in the 80s

What are some of your fondest childhood memories of your father that you cherish to this day?

Some of the fondest childhood memories I have of my father are the times we spent in his garage.  My father always had some sort of project that he was working on, from rebuilding jeeps and trucks to collecting odds and ends that made his garage one of a kind.  He had a collection of hats that wrapped the perimeter of the ceiling, and it got so big that he had to create another row.  He collected Rainier Beer memorabilia, and miscellaneous items, like a Flymo hovering lawn mower, a reconfigured stainless steel golf cart, a collection of Honda Spree scooters and miscellaneous tools.  I will never forget the smell of that garage and all of the memories of my father that came along with it.  

My father also had a collection of random vehicles, one of which taught me to drive.  We took an old jeep (with barely functioning brakes) and we would circle the field next to our home.  Eventually we had all of our friends piled in, and we would make endless circles in that field, laughing and making memories that I still cherish today. 

How did your father shape your upbringing and contribute to the person you are today?

My father’s contribution to who I am today was built from the modeling of hard work and determination. My dad is an extremely hard worker, and he was never handed anything in life. He taught me that if I wanted something, I had to work for it.  He encouraged me to go to college, get a degree and pursue my career all while sharing his wisdom and life experiences to help guide my path. Not only was this a quality that was useful to me growing up, but will always remain something I cherish, as it taught me to be responsible, to problem solve and to value self control.

Bob and Dawn at the Ballard Locks

Did your father do anything that made your relationship with him special? If so, could you share an example?

My dad was the king of practical jokes, and having that type of joy and laughter in my childhood made life all that much sweeter.  My dad was a tickle master…he would tickle my toes until I had tears coming down my face, and my friends always fell victim to the toe tickler as well.  He would tie our socks in knots so we would trip as we tried to get away.  We would always run away, but then right back into his arms for more playtime.  There are a couple memories that always make me laugh.  We had some good friends in a neighboring town, and we brought them some boxes of corn from our local farmer.  By the time we left, our friends said they found ears of corn all over their house - in the pillow cases, in the bathroom, in the laundry basket and in their car.  We laughed about that for days.  But this didn’t just happen once…it happened a lot.  I had been working for a shampoo company where I had to pass out samples at street fairs, and I brought home a leftover box of shampoo samples.  My uncle had come over, and somehow, my dad put the shampoo samples in all of his tire rims, so that every time the tire turned round, you could hear the clacking of the shampoo bottles.  When my uncle got to the end of the driveway, he couldn’t figure out what was making all that racket.  We watched him stop and go, as we laughed from the driveway.  My dad never failed to make me laugh, and I will cherish this about him.

How do you continue to honor and celebrate your father’s influence and impact on your life as you navigate adulthood and parenting?

I continue to honor my dad by keeping things light.  While we all face challenges or obstacles in life, we can take those moments and keep them heavy in our hearts, or learn from them, and grow.  Even when my father faced challenges, he always held his head high and knew that this was an opportunity to grow and learn.  He could well embrace doors closing and new chapters beginning.  He didn’t go into change and allow that to bring him down, but rather look at it as an opportunity.  He always has a smile on his face, and his motto in life is “don’t take any wooden nickels.”  

When it comes to parenting, my dad was always so loving and caring.  I remind my children how loved they are, just as my father did with me.  Lots of hugs, lots of laughter, and joy that will last as they grow into adults.  Thank you for molding me dad! 

As we reach the end of this touching Father's Day Q&A, we are moved by Dawn's heartfelt reflections of her father. Through her words, we witness the love, admiration, and gratitude she holds for the influential role he played in her life.

Both Adam and Dawn's stories serve as a beautiful reminder of the enduring impact fathers have on their children's journeys, and the invaluable lessons they impart. As we celebrate Father's Day, let us carry forth the spirit of love and appreciation, cherishing the memories and the profound connections we share with the father figures in our lives.