Today is my dad’s birthday and just like I did for my Mom on her birthday, I am writing a post about my dad.
It is hard to know even where to begin when talking about my dad. Not because it is hard to find anything to say, far from that, actually. There are so many differenent things to say, things I could mention that it is hard to know which one of them to start with.
I’m going to start with something that might come as a surprise to people who happen to know my dad but don’t know him well. My dad has a tremendous sense of humor and really does enjoy laughter. A few years ago, an establishment in town had like a monthly comedy night and that was something my dad and I did together. I forget how many of them there were but dad and I went together to all but one of them and it was just he and I. Then when it was over and he’d be bringing me home we’d talk about what worked and what didn’t work so well at each show.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him tell more than a handful of jokes over the year but he does like to laugh at a good one. I have always enjoyed getting my dad to laugh at some joke I made or sarcastic quip.
My dad likes to tease people. I have a cousin who told me not so long ago that dad used to scare them by telling them to “get out of my toy box” when they were kids. I haven’t shared that bit of information with my dad as of yet but I know that he will find it absolutely histerical.
I almost hate to call my dad the fun parent because in a way that sounds like I am slighting my mom, who is perfectly capable of having fun herself. But dad has always had more hobbies from hunting and fishing to bowling and golf. He even tought me how to play cards. I certainly got my love of sports from my dad even though as it turns out we share none of the same favorite teams.
As I said previously my mom worked evenings when I was growing up. So my dad was more often than not in charge of supper. The poor guy made more boxes of macaroni and cheese than you could ever hope to count. This was not because he did not know how to cook. Dad knows his way around a kitchen, pretty well, actually. Mostly it was because that’s what we kept asking for.
Growing up, I was closer to my dad’s parents than I was to my mom’s father. That’s because on bowling nights or whatever my sister and I would often be dropped off at Nannie and Cal’s house to be babysat. There are definitely worse things that could of happened to me as a child than being spoiled by my grandmother.
Like any father and son, my dad and I have had our disagreements over the years. I suspect that we’ve had fewer than might be typical, however. The most annoying part of any disagreement I had with my dad is that time more often than not proved him to be the one who was correct. I really don’t like being wrong.
The reason dad was right most of the time was because he understood how my mind worked. I think personality wise, I’m more like my dad than my siblings and as a result, I think that he would know if I were getting myself into something that I would regret later because he could tell how he would have reacted in a similar situation.
However, the truth of the matter is that my dad has always trusted me. I started being allowed to stay home by myself at a pretty young age. My parents had social services people that were not happy that they would let me stay by myself. They stopped coming around after my dad pointed out to them that I was probably more trustworthy to be left on my own than my older brothers. I never felt inclined to see how the oven worked or to stuff objects in the washing machine that did not belong in there, in general when I was home by myself I just watched TV and didn’t do anything that might accidentally result in me or the house being set on fire.
Dad was also more often than not the person who would be giving me rides home after debate practice. I would get out of school at 3:15 and practice until he got off of work at around 6. He’d come pick me up and then that would lead to the rest of the evening. He also picked me up and dropped me off quite a bit when I started working at McDonalds my junior year. My dad always appreciated the hard work that I would put in, especially in my senior year, at debate practice. The fact that the work I put in resulted in my bringing home trophies definitely made him proud.
My dad has often told me that I was the one child that kind of got the short end of the stick when it came to my parent’s attention. My dad would hunt with my brothers and do rodeo with my sister. Both of those activities not only require a lot of time but also require a lot of money. The truth is however, that compared to my siblings I was a pretty low maintenance child. I didn’t need a lot of stuff to keep myself entertained or to keep me happy.
One thing my dad did for me every Friday for years when I was a child was bring me home Hardees. He brought me Hardees every Friday, almost without fail for years. The order almost never changed over the years either, the only difference is that as I got older, the size got larger. Often he’d bring that home and we’d eat supper while watching a Friday night basketball game or two on TNT. It was certainly another good reason to be excited that Friday had finally arrived.
My dad did endulge a couple of my hobbies. I remember one day he got my brother’s up early to take them hunting. When he got home he asked me if I had saw the surprise for me that he’d left next to my bed. I had not, so went to go see and there was a pretty good sized stack of football cards there just waiting for me to go through. That was back when I could still see well enough to look at them and read some of the print.
Of course, being a low maintenance child meant that I got in far less trouble than my siblings did as well. However, this is not to suggest that I never avoided punishment. I deserved every spanking that I ever got and actually probably should have gotten more than I did. Being spanked as a child was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I almost never got spanked for the same crime twice. I guess that goes to prove that at least in some ways I was a fast learner.
Credit to my dad for the fact that if there was any doubt about whether or not I was really guilty, then I wouldn’t get spanked. I only got one when I was guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. As I said, it was less often for me than my siblings but it had an impact. It eventually got to the point that I wouldn’t try to hide any bad behavior if I were caught, rather than deny anything had happened, I would simply own up to my mistakes and take responsibility for my actions. In those cases my punishment was not as severe as it might have been since I think I was getting the point. Things will go easier on you in life if you own up to mistakes instead of trying to hide from them.
I learned a lot from my dad when I was growing up and it was the type of stuff that is useful at any point in a person’s life. He taught me to treat other’s with respect but to always make sure that nobody took advantage of me. I attribute my own sense of integrity to my father. I have a number of flaws certainly but I hope that people always see me as honest and as someone who keeps his integrity. Those are things I value more than any other virtues.
Just like with my mom, it seems that I can’t help but meet people who know my dad from one thing or another. A couple of weeks ago I was asked by probably three people in a single day how my dad was doing. When I was with my mom at Sunday breakfast a few weeks ago we were asked about my dad no less than 4 times and there were probably more people who asked my mom out of earshot.
My dad is a lot of things. He’s strong in spirit and good natured as well. He can be stern at times but he has only ever wanted his children and now grandchildren to be the best that they can be. He sometimes rides my oldest nephew pretty hard when he watches him bowl but one day I hope my nephew comes to understand that he does so because he sees his potential and would hate to see that potential go to waste.
My brothers might have gotten more of his time growing up and my sister certainly got more of his money as well but there is one thing that I can say that they cannot. I’m the child he calls junior and I wouldn’t trade that for all of the horses or hunting trips in the world.
Much like with my mom, I have no idea if my dad will ever read this or not. I can just imagine my dad enquiring as to whether or not I wrote more words about him or about my mom. Then mock complaining if it turned out she got more words. Even I am not imune from being teased by my dad. That’s okay though because I’ll just bide my time and get him back later.