To my Dad on Father's Day

Dad and Floyd circa 1977-79
During first semester of this last school year I showed a few of my classes this picture of my dad to give them a visual of sorts for a personal narrative I had written for an assignment example. After class, a few students  immediately arrived in husband's class commenting on my dad's appearance and questioning my dad's overall demeanor. They asked my husband if he was intimidated when he first met my dad. To me that's kind of funny because my dad isn't like that. Intense, passionate about his beliefs, physically strong...those are all true, and potentially defining characteristics, but obviously that is not the whole person I know as my dad.

Having said that, my dad and I haven't always gotten along famously. When I was a teenager, and especially when we were moving out to Washington, we butted heads constantly. Looking back it's super easy to see that we were just a lot alike when it came to how we wanted to do things on a daily basis and since my brother remained in Philadelphia, our once even numbers created a triangle effect of a little game I like to call, "Who can maintain mom's attention". It was a rough ten few years.

Luckily my dad and I now don't have those same issues. My moving out helped our cause substantially, but also as an adult it became obvious to me that while I was attempting to figure things out for me, my dad had grown up too. Having two kids by the age of 19 probably isn't something either of my parents would prescribe to others as a means to easy living. When I was little, we definitely didn't have much...but the funny thing is that I wasn't really aware of all the "stuff" we didn't have. I knew we moved fairly often; I didn't know then that it was because we were behind on bills and rent. I remember numerous cars, one after another that we called ours, but I'm pretty certain there was no interest in cars per se. We were probably just using some p.o.s. until it fully broke down. I remember not having a phone for a segment of time and my dad telling me it was because he didn't like having it. I remember trash bags full of hand-me-down clothes from my cousins, no real distinction for whether they were technically made for girls' or boys'. And, I remember a lot of arguments between my folks over money.

But...I also remember my dad going to school at night to be an electrician after working all day. I remember when my dad quit drinking and smoking. I remember when he turned a portion of our backyard into a vegetable garden complete with super hot jalapenos that Angie and I tricked her youngest brother into eating. I remember the teeny tiny Cottonwood tree my dad saved from down the street and planted in the backyard that became so big it took up most of what you could see in the backyard from the Google Earth image. I remember my dad taking us kids sledding and snowmobiling over at the industrial park. I remember hikes and camping trips and canoe rides and float trips down the Delaware River and honestly hundreds of sleepovers. And of course, I vividly remember my parents making the decision to move to Washington, and it taking some three years to fix up and sell our house in Philadelphia. My dad (and mom) did an awful lot for our family that as a kid just isn't as easily recognizable because you kind of expect it.

I had a great childhood because of my parents. They provided me with the necessities I needed in order to become who I am now, but it wasn't just what my dad provided me in terms of food, shelter, and clothing. The characteristic that stands out most about my dad is his desire to be a better person combined with his inability to give a shit what other people (outside our family) think. He has consistently manipulated this mold people want to put him in, and he refuses to settle for what society views as the norm. He questions things when so many other people won't, when so many other people are willing to just say okay even if it isn't okay. He strives to become a better person and try new ideas. My dad doesn't know how to settle. He doesn't let himself become complacent. He wants to live life and have experiences. He's not afraid to share how he feels even if it isn't the accepted belief. It's these pieces of him that force me to admire the man he is today and exactly what causes me to want to be better myself.

There isn't much more my dad could do. I'm proud of him and above all thankful that he is my dad...the one I get to learn from and the one whose actions and beliefs I get to imitate.

Thank you dad for your constant support. Thank you for showing me what it means to be strong and independent and unique. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am. I love you. (Leah and Latimore love you too!) We all miss you!

Dad doing the STP (Seattle to Portland) bike ride all by himself the year after we did it together.  Leah and I met him to along the route to root him on.
About to enter into the old 2 mile long Snoqualmie train tunnel turned bike trail during our week long  bike camping trip.
Canyon Lake AZ kayaking.

My dad also hobbies as a metalist (is that a word? who cares) and creates all different kinds of unique Metal Work. Check it out.


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