Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dad's Day

So Dad doesn't get to a computer much. In fact, about the only way he'll find out about this is if my aunt Chloe, my uncle Bill or I tell him about it.

But my dad, mein pops, the biggest single male influence in my life is now 61 years old today. I consider him a father, a teacher, and a friend.

I've known Dad my whole life (which goes without saying)! It seemed though whenever I was younger, I'd usually get his belt or his hand across my backside when I did something stupid (which happened often!) I remember he had a belt with his name on it that Mom used to use to swat the ol' hindquarters when I was bad. In fact, just hearing the word "Steve" and I immediately put my hands over my butt! LOL

Okay, before I make him out to be a monster (it was humor, people!), Dad has always been there for me. No matter where he is in the country, I know I can bend his ear whenever I have a problem. He may have barely finished high school, but he is the greatest teacher I know. I learned to shave from him, how to drive, how to change the oil (by the way, the nut on the oil pan has to be turned to the LEFT if you want to drain the oil!), but most of all, how to be a good person.

Granted, Dad was (and still is) gone most of the time, as is par for the course with his job. But that's just the thing. Times were tight sometimes and we struggled financially at times, but Dad was always out there, busting his backside 30 hours a day so we could have a roof over our head.

Sure he did some stupid stuff in his life, but I also know that he has his regrets. I remember one time in high school, we were talking about him and his trucking. He turned to me and said "Matt, don't ever go into driving if you want to have a family." He regrets the missed birthdays, vacations, holidays, games, and the normal time that most dads spend with their sons. I've been on the road with Dad and have seen him in that driver's seat for 10-12-14 hours a day, through all sorts of nasty conditions and traffic.

I think as Dad is getting older, he's starting to look at some priorities. He parked his truck and took a job as a company driver. Not so much for the money (but it helps), but for the fact he can now be home on a somewhat regular basis. He's looking at a place of his own to live instead of living out of his truck or at a hotel. And he's making a point to spend time with his granddaughter. To be honest, I don't know who was more tickled when Zoey was born, Mike or my dad!

So on this, the first day of his 61st year of life, I offer this humble but heartfelt wish...

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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