Father’s Day is different when you’ve lost your Dad. You no longer get to talk to him and tell him you love him and that you appreciate his fatherhood. Well, you can tell him, but most likely he won’t answer back.
I think about my dad a lot. He was such a good guy. He worked hard to give his kids a shot at a good life, and he sure did succeed at that. He was almost 39 when I was born, so I had an older than average dad compared to many of my peers. That sure didn’t stop him from participating fully in my childhood, though. I can still see my dad pitching me baseballs and telling me with a smile when I would swing and miss that I “swing like a rusty gate.” That phrase will always stick with me.
Dad also invested an awful lot of time, not just for me but for my older brothers, too, working as a Boy Scout Leader. We’re talking years of spending an evening a week trying to better the younger generation, not to mention weekend campouts and all sorts of stuff like that. He gave far more than his fair share, not just to his sons, but to many, many other young men as well.
He was a great story teller, including the most minute details in his stories, like what day of the week he and his childhood pal Jimmy Joachim (I may be spelling that wrong) got in trouble for some thing or other. I’m pretty sure he was fudging some of those details, but those kind of touches made his story his story.
The older I get, the more I try to emulate his finer qualities. I wish I’d paid more attention, a lot more attention, to everything he did while he was around. He was a family-man version of an old-school renaissance man. He built furniture, did the crossword in pen, and did one hell of a job just “being there.” I miss him.