Dad would have been 90 years old today. He passed away Father's Day this year, seven weeks ago.
While I feel a certain sadness in my spirit because I can't just pick up the phone or go to see him and say, “Happy Birthday Dad,” I am also experiencing a sense of gratitude.
My dad was an amazing father and grandfather. He was an amazing man.
Dad was the best fisherman I know! He taught me a lot of little things— how to put a worm on a hook, cast, and take the fish off the hook. He tried to teach me how to clean it— eeeewwww. I wish I had paid more attention though. I'm sure I can still do it, even though I don't really want to.
I can't remember ever going on a fishing trip with him where we didn't catch a big haul. I loved spending time with him when we were fishing. It wasn't just about the thrill of catching the fish, it was about the quiet and spending special time with my dad.
One time I decided it would be fun to sing to the fish as an experiment to see if I could catch more than him. I quickly found out that we don't sing to fish especially if Dad was trying to fish within hearing distance.
Yes, Dad loves to fish, and that's what he did.
Dad taught me how to change the oil, the tire, and check all the fluids in my car, and he taught me how to drive.
Dad tried to teach me how to play a guitar; it made my fingers hurt. Unfortunately, I didn't start until I was a teenager, and then I was too self-absorbed. The best I can do today is to pluck out “Taps” on the guitar. I wish I had paid more attention.
There was one very important lesson Dad taught me, that I'm just now realizing. Do what you love! Dad did that, he did what he loved to do. He was an excellent mechanic, and he loved his job. He continued to work on cars, even after he retired. Any of the older cars that the younger guys couldn't figure out what was wrong, they sent to my dad. He also worked on boat and lawn mower engines. He was always out in his garage tinkering with something. He continued to do that until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's many years ago and was no longer able to live by himself.
Dad also loved playing his guitar and singing; he also played a lot of other musical instruments. He couldn't read sheet music, but after listening to a song for just a little bit, he could play it. There was just one drawback to this talent he had. Whenever I would invite a "wannabe" boyfriend over for the first time, as was standard policy in our household, Dad would break out the guitar and sing some embarrassing song. I remember trying to hide his guitar one time. It didn't matter, he got a pair of spoons from the kitchen and sang the song anyway. Oh Dad! He loved entertaining people and making them smile. And that's what he did.
Some people define success as having lots of money, a big house, lots of cars, successful job, etc. I prefer to define success as doing what you love and loving what you do. That's what Dad did. That's what I want to do. That's the most important lesson I ever learned from Dad. I only wish I could tell him.