My dad is the hardest working person I've ever known. He's almost 70 and still wakes up every morning and runs. Like 5 miles. He does sets of 18 pull-ups, climbs a 30 foot rope in his shop and runs sprints out in the field uphill...that's all before 9am.
He can outwork guys 50 years younger than him. I've seen him do it y'all. 20 year old guys running for the water cooler and taking smoke breaks, and Dad just keeps on working. If you work with him, you learn real quick you don't stop. You work until you're done or it's dark.
He can out-think most guys too. Truck won't start? Toilet won't flush? Dryer won't come on? Water heater doesn't heat? Lawn mower won't cut? You want to take out a load-bearing post in the middle of your garage? He can figure how to do it with some threaded rod and an iron angle bracket. He could solve any algebra problem in my book...couldn't tell you the formula, but he got it right every. single. time. I've seen him hoist beams, engines, air conditioners, and anything else he needed to move into place right by himself. He's built more homes, shops, playhouses, play structures, decks, porches, docks, and cook sheds than any one man should have to in three lifetimes. He's changed alternators, brake pads, fuel pumps, fuel filters, fan belts, light fixtures, dishwashers, and I could go on and on and on. He's taught me how to back a trailer, change a tire, jump a car battery, wire a house, hammer a nail, shoot a gun, and drum up some common sense when needed.
You would think a person that could do all that might not be able to have fun...He gets us together for campfires and oysters and hotdogs and s'mores. He taught me how to ski, slalom, and drive a boat. He showed me how to bait a fishing line and throw it just the right way. I know all the shoals in the river and just how to get around them. I know where the fishing holes and the backwaters are. I know how to fry fish the only way one should, although I prefer the fish he fries to any hands down. He's driven our family all over the country in all kinds of terrain. He's not afraid to try something new or terrifying, like take off down “Wipe-out Hill” in Moab, UT while we're screaming our heads off in the back of the jeep. Knowing once we got down safe we'd have the best stories to tell. He's also a connoisseur of fine food. He can out-eat every last person at the table...and if you don't believe me, bet him on it. He doesn't lose. Just don't take him in a fancy restaurant, because he'll talk backwoods hillbilly to the french waiter and think it's hysterical.
Dad's also an artist. I tell him this a lot, but he snorts and rolls his eyes and high-tails it out of there before I can ask him to build something for me. He goes to his shop and creates these fantastic pieces of art. Sometimes it's wood herringbone pub tables. Other times he uses old barn wood and hinges to make a sink vanity. He welds iron together into chandeliers and builds tiny covered bridge replicas. One year he and mom made miniature wood carousel horses that spun round and round for Christmas gifts. He made a farmhouse table from old barn beams and pallets. He also paints beautifully when forced. All of our homes are full of things he hand crafted. They're truly works of art.
I think if you asked any of the 3 of us, we would tell you we don't do much without asking his advice. We don't always do what he says, which typically we regret, but we value his input. He takes a situation, and like a diamond under a jeweler's loupe, rotates it, inspects it, weighs, and measures it. He can step back from something and see multiple sides. Most important, he's able to do this without trying to micro-manage us. He can offer advice and then two weeks later ask, “Well, what'd ya end up doing?” It's nice.
Dad can be a little intimidating and I've heard people say they were afraid of him. This, I think, is hysterical, because he would literally do anything for someone in need. I've seen him rig up a pulley to hoist a wrecked car off of a man. Another time, he sat with a guy whose bone was sticking through his pants leg until an ambulance came. He's given away untold sums of money to friends, family, and employees. He's repaired air conditioners for elderly people and told them, “Hey, don't worry about it.” He's also sat through hours and hours and hours and hours of piano recitals, dance recitals, pageants, and gymnastic competitions. He's been forced to watch Hallmark, Downton Abby, Full House, and the Disney Channel for almost 40 years. Of course he complains a little about it, but we know he secretly doesn't mind at all.
He has said a lot of things that have impacted my life. One of my all-time favorite quotes of his is when he talks about our vacations out west. He always says, “If somebody offered to return all that time and all that money that we spent on our trips in exchange for the memories...I'd never do it.” I love that about Dad. When he does something he's all in.
I like to think I inherited some of those good qualities. I know at least they passed through me, because my son is a clone of my dad! So here's to celebrating your dads this June and raising good men that will become good dads to somebody else.