Doing The Best We Can With What We’ve Got


Doing the best you can with what you’ve got personifies how my father, Verlo Walton, has lived his life. When my parents were raising my brother and I he worked his day job as a welder and took on a variety of side gigs from running his own upholstery business to woodworking, bike repair, and metal fabrication.

If there was a tool that he needed for a job that he either couldn’t afford or didn’t yet exist he would simply make it. My father came from a time and place in society where there was no time to whine about why you couldn’t do something, you simply had to figure out how to get it done.

My dad, visiting his mom while he was on leave from the army in the early 1960’s

My brother and I didn’t have nearly as tough a childhood as my father did but he taught us a lot by his example. We were conditioned to think beyond our perceived limitations and refuse to accept them.

Me (rocking my 70’s Sesame Street shirt, my Dad, and my younger brother, Curt.

Sometimes my Father’s life philosophy meant injuries ranging from smashed fingers (this is how I built my voluminous vocabulary of curse words) to burns, and various prototypes laying around that didn’t quite work out as intended. We were taught that failure was okay, it meant only you needed to give it another shot and refine your approach.

This attitude is the best legacy he could have given us, more valuable than any trust fund could possibly be. At almost eighty years old, despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my dad is still living his life this way. His hands, now crippled with arthritis, make it difficult for him to button his shirts and jackets. He’s too proud to ask anyone for help, so what does he do? He makes something to solve the problem.

Without access to the internet for ideas, using only his imagination, he sat down at his desk a few weeks ago and made a tool to get the job done. He’s refined his invention about fifteen times so far and he said it’s still not as perfect as he’d like it to be. Here’s a short video my Mom took of him showing how an early version works.

The invention in action.

The tool is now much more refined. We're trying to think of a catchy name for it so we can try to sell a few. Funny thing is, I’ve checked to see if anything similar is out there and this is different from any design I’ve seen. In my opinion, his version would be easier to manufacture, simpler to use, and easier to carry.

This man continues to inspire and amaze me. He taught himself how to make jewelry and dream-catchers that he regularly gives away to family and friends. He made, then dismantled dozens of them before he got the process perfected.

My Dad with one of his dream catchers.

As I've gotten older I often think to myself How lucky am I to have this man as my father? I can say for certain that I would have never had the resolve it took to become an author without having him as a mentor. Each day he reminds me that, more often than not, failure is a choice that we can choose to accept or not.

Through his example, I've learned the better choice is always to try again. Like him, I choose to keep doing the best I can with what I've got.

Thank you for reading,


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*I am an American novelist, poet, traveler, and crypto-enthusiast. If you’ve enjoyed my work please sign up for my author newsletter at my website. Newsletter subscribers will receive exclusive updates and special offers and your information will never be sold or shared.

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What wonderful memories @ericvancewalton! I love the pic where your Dad's sitting on his Mom's lap, so sweet!
Your Dad's invention is quite ingenious, simple yet so effective! Reminds me so much of mine, he also loved inventing all kinds of gadgets to make tasks easier, if something broke he'd often make up parts to get it working again. That generation knew how to stretch every penny, they took nothing for granted! Nothing was wasted; water & electricity all had to be used sparingly.
Nowadays things come too easily but I do see some of those values in my children.
Your Dad is amazing!


Thank you @lizelle! He was a cool cat sitting there smoking his cigarette. : ) I just talked to him this morning and he's sending me 15 of his prototypes. He wants to call it "the hooker" but I think we'd better come up with a better name than that. Lol.

I remember reading some of your memories of your father. They would have been two peas in a pod for sure.

You are so right about them being frugal and energy conscious. We would have to turn off the lights anytime we left a room...this was so ingrained in me that I still do it, despite the fact that most of our lights are LED and use almost no electricity.


Haha yep I agree that name will have to change but it is kind of catchy, I can just imagine an advert for the hooker LOL.


He still has a great sense of humor. : )

The previous generation was way more resilient and we were lucky to learn from them. I'm nowhere near as creative as your father, for instance, yet I firmly believe in the try again thing.
As for the next generation, they're living better times, they have never known hardships. I've often worried about my children and their future, how would they deal with hardship? But I guess they'll manage somehow. In my country we have a saying like 'there's no better teacher than need'. Something like you're father and his invention, which is truly amazing.


There's no better teacher than need. I love that because it's so true. Lessons learned from need are deeply ingrained. The different attitudes of the generations is so cyclical. Sooner or later hardship will be sure to revisit us and create another resilient generation. Thank you for your comment!

What an amazing guy! So innovative and "can-do" I love it! And his buttoner gizmo is such an elegant solution.


I just love people who insist on growing and expanding themselves regardless of age and ability!


Thank you, Ruth! He had lost some of his gumption in the past few years so we're thrilled to see this side of him again. He told me yesterday he walked around their development by himself with his walker. I was proud of him. He'd been embarrassed to use it but his legs were too weak to walk long distances on his own. Hopefully he can build his stamina up again.


it's hard to watch someone who's been so able become so limited...I'm seeing the beginning of this with my father too and it's really something.

This is a really great story about your father. He sounds like a wonderful role model and man. Also, it's great to hear his mind is ingenuitive and he's creating with alzheimer's, very inspirational story.


Thank you! My brother and I got lucky, for sure. We're beginning to question if he really does have Alzheimer's. He's been in the VA healthcare system for decades and they don't always get the best medical care. He's on a myriad of prescription drugs that can mimic the symptoms of dementia. We're going through the process of seeing what he can be weaned off of to see if his condition improves.


You're welcome! That's great that he might be misdiagnosed. It's amazing how some of the drugs they give to patients can have the craziest side effects, great you're vetting the drugs and trying to help him, wish you good luck bro.

This is absolutely one of your best posts about your father. What a wonderful role model and man. He is artistic, inventive, and loving.
In the first photo I see you really look like him.

That idea for his button is marvelous. A lot of older people have similar problems. I think it is something they could use.

Tell him I said hello and wish I could meet him. 💯
@ericvancewalton it is so cold outside.


Thanks @rebeccabe! Childhood was so much fun with him around (when he was in a good mood). I have so many memories about our adventures. My brother and I both look like him, my brother even more as he gets older. He got more of my father's disposition and personality.

He's sending me a few copies of his invention and I'm going to help him get started selling them online.

Maybe I'll bring him along to SteemFest one of these years. : )

This winter is RELENTLESS. We have subzero temps and snow forecasted for the next ten days. Stay warm my friend!


This is something I have never had to endure and I lived in Colorado. Unbelievable how cold for so long. As a matter of fact, the 1st time in here 4 years that we have lived in this area.

added note: not if they have steemfest in Poland that sounds cold too.

Beautiful article . I felt good to read about your father . This article is showing your love for your father .

Very inspirational story article . Nice to read about your father's memories . No one can take place of father in life .

@ericvancewalton, We don't have limitations and if we are feeling limitation then definitely that limitation is sitting in our mind and if it's there then we have to throw away it to feel the essence unlimitedness. And every human being carries his/her own unique stories which is attached with their Roots. Stay blessed.

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Extremely motivational stuff
We must have a strong attitude to tackle any obstacle in our path

An amazing story, I learned a lot of instructive things about you and your father, when it seemed that there were difficult moments in life, but you still need to look for solutions and go forward with steadfastness, regardless of anything!


Thanks! In the situation he grew up in he had no "safety net" so he had to figure out everything himself.

Great story Eric, your father is an example to follow for us all and you are right, he created himself as a person with his own hands and I always respected such people!

How magnificent your father must be, in those days all this technology we can see now didn't exist. Each person had to manage in their own way and I see that your father knew how to work for it, what a great invention of your father's, it's something quite simple but that never occurred to me.

Oh yes @ericvancewalton, I completely agree with you that we must always go forward and do everything possible on our way! The history of your father clearly showed me that our lives will depend on us and on what we can achieve!

Very inspiring story.

I love to hear about people like your father. Shame that his get things done attitude is a product of a bygone era. I have hope that this attitude will resurge in a newer generation. I think we are almost there.

Sad about his alzheimer's, though I suspect that would irritate him to no end to hear and it seems to be powerless in stopping his can do attitude. Bravo!!


Thanks! That "can do attitude" was a lot more prevalent from his generation and before. He refuses to believe he has Alzheimer's and sometimes even we wonder if the diagnoses was correct. He's on tons of pharmaceutical meditations and we often wonder if these drugs don't mimic the symptoms.

I almost cry at this story because in one way or another I see my father reflected in yours. He left this world two years ago, but I still remember him! How fortunate we are to have good, hardworking, responsible parents. Although I am a teacher, I know that the essential education we have, we receive from home, from our parents. We are stones and it is in their hands to try to make us diamonds. With your story I see not only the admiration you feel for your father but also the love. It's time to talk about good parents, because there are many of them and they deserve recognition. A hug, @ericvancewalton


I'm very sorry for the loss of your father. I know that's something we can never be prepared for. What is so wonderful is these people live on through the lessons they taught us. Thank you so much for your comment!

Amazing story about Alzheimer's Disease There are always difficult moments in life and this is a testament to people
Thank you for the article Finally I think I read something exciting

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You father life story is that of determination and hard work not withstanding the circumstances that surrounds him he still finds his way out to makes things easier for himself . He is a survival and an achieval , his life story is a motivation and inspiration for people to follow and learn from

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