Today is Father’s Day. I made the call to my dad this afternoon—you all know that I’m a horrible card sender. And I figured I should write up a little post about my dad because a) I love him, b) he’s awesome, and c) I wrote one for Mom on Mother’s Day. I can’t play favorites, you know.
- Dad put a roof over our heads. Dad worked away from home during the week, which had to be rough, but he did it to make sure his family was taken care of. Not only that, he put a lot of the finishing touches on our house to make sure we were warm and safe while he was gone.
- Dad broke the vacuum. This is one of my favorite memories of Dad. We still lived in our house in town, so Jacob and I were pretty little, and I think we were frantically cleaning the house because grandma and grandpa were coming over. Dad grabbed Mom’s prized Kenmore vacuum cleaner (now that I have one of my own, I understand why it’s so special) and started vacuuming the living room. Dad always knows how to make housework fun, and this time, he started chasing Jacob and I with the vacuum cleaner, pretending that it was a monster trying to eat our toes. While Jacob and I hopped on the couch to escape, Dad bounced the machine up and down making chomping noises and broke the vacuum cleaner. Dad was in trouble with Mom! That was the best part!
- Dad introduced me to some of my favorite movies. Young Frankenstein, Captain Horatio Hornblower, Operation Petticoat, Memphis Belle. I could list more, but the general theme of movies I love watching with my dad either involve war or Gregory Peck. And when I was a teenager, Dad figured out that certain movies could draw me to the couch for some guaranteed time with his daughter. Why else would a grown man watch Casper on a Sunday afternoon?
- Dad taught me how to hunt. OK, I don’t really hunt anymore, but Dad taught me how to shoot and clean a gun, how to sit in a deer stand very quietly until a deer comes along, how to gut a deer, and how to process deer meat. Maybe this isn’t so important in the grand scheme of things, but Dad and I got to spend a lot of time together reloading rifle ammo, shooting in the backyard, and hanging out during deer season. It’s still one of my favorite times of year.
- Dad introduced me to some of my favorite music. Songs by Juice Newton and Mary Chapin Carpenter came on the radio last week, and I was able to fully sing along with those songs namely because Dad was a believer in the repeat button on our Suburban tape deck. No song was safe from being repeated time after time if he liked it, and I have obtained many of those songs from iTunes so I can repeat them whenever I want, too.
- Dad is my resident car mechanic. Most dads are in some form or another, but my dad is a professional mechanic, and it takes an extra dose of patience to come home and work on your personal car (or your daughter’s) on the weekend. Because I live 100 miles from home now, I don’t turn to him as often as I used to, but in college, Dad made a handful of trips to Springfield to make repairs. And he’s always available for car repair advice when I have no idea what’s wrong with my car. And he put up with my near-cursing one early morning my sophomore of college when I repeatedly called him while attempting to change a vandalized tire.
- Dad gave me an appreciation for red meat. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who’s only known me a year or so asked me if I was a meat eater. Uh, you could say that. Dad’s first stop on my way home from the hospital was not the convenience store for diapers; he took Mom and I to a favorite steak house. While I couldn’t appreciate a good steak then, he taught me to enjoy an excellent prime rib as early as he could afford it knowing that once I had a good steak, I wouldn’t turn back. And I didn’t.
- Dad taught me how to drive. I’m not sure how old I was when I had my first driving lesson, but I started off on the tractor sitting on Dad’s lap. Then I graduated to the John Deere mower where I had to mow our yard to perfection (without running over any garden hoses) before calling it finished. Dad gave me my first lesson in what would eventually be my truck when I was in middle school; I drove that truck until my senior year. Dad taught me to drive in the city and with semis on the road, too, and I am the confident driver I am today because of what he taught me.
- Dad always let me mooch on his Diet Coke. Somewhere there’s a picture of me as a toddler sitting in my dad’s lap, holding his bottle of Diet Coke with my feet and hands, and drinking from it. Up until I got married, if Dad had a Coke, I was mooching from it. (Dad, know that now I mooch from Chris.) No beverage was safe from my reach, and particularly vulnerable were the freshly-poured drinks sitting on the kitchen cabinet that would mysteriously “disappear” when Dad turned around to put away the soda bottle.
- Dad never missed a Friday night wrestling match. Dad worked away from home during the week, so his homecoming on Friday nights was pretty special. After his shower and before dinner, Jacob and I usually challenged Dad to a wrestling match in the dining room. There was a lot of tickling and jumping and hollering—and sometimes the cat got caught, too—but that’s how we knew the weekend had officially started.
Yep, my dad is pretty cool. I could go on, but this is a top-ten list. I love you, Dad!