Growing up with you in my life was definitely one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. No, you weren’t perfect, neither as a father, or as a man. But you know what? You were perfect for me.
Through the years you taught me many things, the love of creating things with my own two hands, that possibilities are always there if I just look for them, a sense of pride in a job well done…and of course, a major fear of snakes.
No, you were never a John Walton kind of father, comfortable with heart-to-heart talks, but somehow you always made me feel better, no matter what was going on in my life. I would know that you knew, and that you wished you could fix whatever needed fixing. And that was good enough for me.
With Father’s Day just around the corner, I was taking a walk down memory lane tonight. I came across the pictures of the four of us that you carried in your wallet for God knows how long. Every time I see those fold lines, it makes me smile. As grubby and well-handled as they look, all I can imagine is you showing them off to your co-workers during lunch.
Another picture caught my eye. It was taken in one of the channels up at the lake, not long before you got sick. I never told you this, but I thought those channels were nasty. They reminded me of the everglades in Florida, and I always half expected an alligator to be floating around in the weeds. But you loved it up there.
I miss hearing you say, “Well, helloooo, Kristy,” whenever I’d call. I miss how cheerful you almost always were. I miss just being in the same room with you while you watched boring races, or were talking and laughing with everyone else.
I wish I liked playing golf. It would have allowed me to spend a lot more time with you. But we both know that I can’t hit a basketball with a two-by-four, so I’d have spent every outing holding you and the boys up. If only I’d known you were going to be gone from my life so early, I’d have tried to learn.
Anyway, I’m just thinking about you. Not that I don’t think about you every day, it’s just more often this time of year. How can I not? Every store I walk into in June is full of displays for cards, and gifts, and stuff for cookouts. I try my best to ignore them, but I still know they’re there.
The only thing that brings me any comfort at all is that I know you’re in heaven now. You’re not in pain, and you’re not afraid anymore. Grandpa is roping you into fishing with him, Uncle Stan, Roger and Tim every day.
And you’re happy. I know you didn’t think you would be, because you weren’t ready to leave, anymore than we were ready to let you go. After almost nine years, I’m still not ready.
I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.