Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Dad

Let me tell you about my dad. My dad is pretty darn impressive. He showed me what it meant to be a man-what true humility and hard work meant. What do I say about my father, though? I mean, how to begin, you know? I guess I should start at the beginning, then. I hear its a very good place to start.

Memories are funny things. Some folks have these really crystal clear memories of events, you know? Like who was where at what time and what happened when, that sort of thing. Me? My memories are oddly specific and yet kind of vague. I will remember odd details with perfect clarity, yet forget when a thing happened, or what happened after. I also remember emotions far more than specific events. So lets get to it.

My earliest memory of my dad is of his laughter. My dad has this kind of explosive laugh. It's like it catches him by surprise. Normally he'll just sort of silently chuckle when he is laughing, but every now and again when something is really funny he'll just let out this massive exhalation of air and sound. It is not the loudest laugh or anything, but it is like a wave of laughter, sudden and steady. He's a funny guy, my dad. Sarcasm and ironic turns of phrase are the name of the game with my dad. My mom won't even watch a movie with the two of us because we will be going full MST3K during dang near every movie. I know it is a cardinal sin to talk during movies, but what can I say? My dad and I are hilarious, and we are even funnier when watching a movie together.

My other early memories of my dad are of work and precision. I must have been around two years old, and my mom took me and my brother out to see my dad at work. My dad worked in insulation at this time. You know, with the big hoses and pumping it into the holes in the wall. It was a hot day, and those were long hours of work. My dad did that, or jobs like that my whole life. Not insulation, mind you, but hard work and long hours. I never heard him complain about the work, though. He would come home exhausted and sit down in our plaid chairs(seriously, we had these square blue plaid chairs and couches, why do I remember that) and just sigh. It was a long low sigh, a tired sigh. When I went out in the world and began doing real work, I learned all about what that sigh means. That is the sigh of a man who was so tired it drained the strength from his bones. I never heard my dad complain. Not once.

He worked third shift as a prison guard, worked as a farmer, worked as all sorts of things. Hard work. Then he would come home and work on his hobbies. Saturdays and Sundays he would play piano for hours. The whole house would vibrate to the songs he would play. I never really liked music. Its never been my thing, yeah? My father is the reason that I can tell good music from bad, skilled performances from amateurs and posers. He would get oddly focused on hobbies and such as well.

One Saturday, while my mom was out of town for one reason or another, my dad took it into his head to learn to make naan bread. He spent the whole day making dough and cooking it at various speeds, trying to get it just right. Then there was the time he decided that he, my brother Aaron, and I were going to build a sailboat. We spent a whole summer putting the boat together. It was hot work and, at the time, I was not a fan of it. Out in the sun all day building something I had no real understanding of. But looking back, there was a lot being taught there. A lot of stuff my dad taught me was indirect. He showed me how to be, rather than telling me how to be.

I don't know if this rambling tale is coming together in any meaningful way, but the point is this. It is Father's Day, and I would like to thank my dad. He taught me how to live an upright life and how to have fun even in the midst of hardship. He allowed me to express my thoughts, but never let me be lazy in my thought processes. He lived his life the way he wanted his sons to live theirs. So here is to my dad, and all other dads who deserved praise and never got it.

Thanks pop.