While the world spirals into chaos, I’m going to hit the pause button. For just a little while, let’s forget about COVID-19, social distancing, wearing (or not wearing) masks in public. Not having a buffet to eat at, and no NBA playoffs or Summer Olympics to enjoy.
Let’s forget about this ridiculous trend of hating each other because of our political beliefs. Let’s forget about this horrifying concept of hating each other because of the color of our skin or where on this planet our ancestors happen to be from.
This Sunday is father’s day, that small unsung special day between the juggernaut of Mother’s Day and the ever anticipated Independence Day.
For whatever reason, Father’s Day is not as big a deal as Mother’s Day (not to cast any shade on Mothers) — maybe its because dads just like it that way.
However, without Fathers, there would be no Mothers — at least that’s the way it used to be. In today’s confuzzled world, the line between what makes a mom a mom and a dad a dad have blurred. Who really knows anymore if it takes a dad to make a mom?
It seems that as respect for our nation, its history and it’s flag is on the decline, so too is our respect for our dads.
Ninety percent of today’s television commercials featuring families portray the dad as a clueless bumbling idiot who needs to be set on the right track by a precocious nine-year-old daughter, who insists on demeaning him at every opportunity.
If dad’s such an idiot, how is it possible that this pretend TV family lives in a house worth at least half a million dollars? If this phenomenon were to portray women as the bumbling idiots of every household, the outcry among women’s rights groups would be deafening and the commercials would be yanked off the air.
Why isn’t there an outcry among the Dad’s of the world? Because, for the most part, Dads are content to to work hard, play hard, live, laugh, love and take a few lumps in the process, so long as their families are safe, happy, healthy and secure.
My Dad is that guy. He grew up on a little dairy farm in eastern Kansas, born in the 1930s — the height of the Great Depression.
Dad knew what it meant to be poor, to live below the poverty line and he made it his life’s work to ensure that his own family did not.
While dad’s family was not rich, or evenly financially secure, they were in no way poor.
Dad lived a rich childhood, loved by his mother and father unconditionally. He spent his childhood hunting squirrels with his dog Tip in the Kansas woods. Riding his horse Queenie to school, milking cows, fixing fence, building dairy barns with his Dad — learning the value of hard work and the investment of sweat equity.
He joined the US Army during the Korean War and returned home to earn his education on the GI bill. He became a geologist and went to work for Kerr McGee Nuclear, mining uranium from deep underground in the high country of Northwest New Mexico where he built his home.
Dad was an awesome role model. Every time I complete a job — fix a car or build something with my own two hands — anything that I am proud to say I did, Dad’s hands are there too.
I never really thought about it until the other day, when I was building a wood ramp up from the driveway to my porch, but I never went to school to learn how to do this stuff. I never watched a YouTube video. How do I know that those vertical boards under the decking are called joists? And how do I know that they need to be at least 2X8s and not 2X6s? Because of Dad.
How do I know how to filet a fish? Dad.
How do I know how to hunt, track and walk silently in the forest? Dad.
How do I know that a boat is a big hole in the water where you pour all your money? Dad.
Who was it that taught me how to change a tire, water ski, swing a hammer, save money, build a barbed wire fence, replace a starter, raise chickens, ride a bike, ride a horse, build a fire, shoot a gun, gut a deer, grill a steak, throw a punch, balance a checkbook, mow the lawn, do algebra, change the oil, use a shovel, swing a golf club, back a trailer, tie a knot, build a tire swing, plant a garden, drive a car, drive a nail, fix a faucet, shingle a roof and tell a bad joke? Dad.
Dad showered me with every one of his good qualities and I like to think I absorbed most of them. He taught me not to trust anyone until they earned it. He taught me not hate anyone just because they were different. Thinking back, I can’t remember hearing him say any disparaging words about anybody, even his enemies. He was simply a good person.
Today, Dad suffers from Alzheimer’s, an evil affliction that victimizes not only him, but everyone he loves and everyone who loves him.
It’s heartbreaking to think about how this disease is erasing from his mind, the memories of the irreproachable life he lived — leaving him confused and angry with no consistent recollection about anything or anyone.
But Dad’s memory and legacy will live in his own children and what we have imparted to our children.
I proudly see in my kids and in each of my nieces and nephews, many of the qualities Dad instilled in us — hard work, honesty, integrity, morals and humor. We love you Dad.
Thanks for reading.
Thank your dad, you wouldn’t be here without him.