For the blog today, I was going to put up a thank you to dads everywhere for Father’s Day, tell them to knock off work early, and show a sweet video of dads surfing…. but, when I was writing the thank you, I started to think about my own dad, Ken, and just how lucky I was to grow up with a great dad. Not a good dad, but a GREAT dad!
My dad taught me to swim, I liked it so much he ended up taking me to swim practice 5 days a week 2 hours a practice for 14 years, oh, and to meets on Saturday’s and some Sunday’s too.. he never missed one. Not one. Not ever.
On my 16th birthday, my dad put on a “Happy Birthday Tracey” hand drawn T shirt, got up on the blocks at my swim meet commandeered the microphone and got the whole crowd to sing happy birthday to me. At 16, I was dying of embarrassment. One of the other girls came over to me and told me “you have no idea how lucky you are to have a dad like that, look around, none of our dads are here..” She was right. I am lucky.
My dad made these insanely amazing slide shows for the CYO sports banquets. He would make sure every kid grade K-8… EVERY kid had a cool shot of them in action. He would time them and set them to music with shots of butterfly wings, flowers and whatever else he got a neat shot of. He ended each show with the song “Celebration”, every time I hear that song it makes me laugh and think of my mad genius slideshow king dad.
My dad drove 60 miles to work and 60 miles home from work for 30 years, so that my sister and I could grow up in a house that had a huge backyard with woods and a driving range sized lawn. No matter how harsh the 9 month Upstate New York winters were, he always drove the back roads, so he could look at nature along the way. Growing up, he would stop the car on the side of the road and make us get out if there was a particularly lovely tree, or hill, or just a cool bird flying by. He would always tell us how blessed we were to live in the middle of so much beauty. He was right.
When I totaled a car skidding out on black ice and I was so scared to tell him what happened. He gave me the biggest hug in the world and all he said was “They can make more cars, but they can’t make another you…” He never got upset for even a second. To this day, he always says “That’s why they are called accidents and not on purposes.”
My dad is a loooong suffering Buffalo Bills fan. He has season tickets and even sat through a game during a brutally cold Buffalo day with only 1,300 other crazy fans. No matter how bad the team looks during the pre-season, my dad always says “Trace.. this could be their year! You never know, that’s why they play the game!” Yes, dad, this really could be their year!
When I was growing up, my dad played John Denver all the time. No, seriously, All. The. Time. I was pretty sure at the time that this was a form of child abuse. He would crank it up and watch the birds fly by in the backyard. Now I listen to John Denver at least once a day. He is my favorite. My dad was right, he wrote the songs that nature couldn’t write about herself.
My dad taught me how to fish, golf, shoot.. he taught me to love hockey. We were at (at the time) the longest game in NHL history.. over 150 shots on goal. We stayed for the whole thing. He made sure I could check the oil, change a tire, parallel park and drive a stick before I was allowed to get my drivers license, and he still gets me AAA every year for Christmas. He taught me that it doesn’t matter what job you have, just as long as you work hard at it. He told me that the best way to get through life is to be compassionate and help others that have less than you. Use your gifts to benefit the world, not just to bring glory to yourself. He gave me the best example of what a good man is, so that when I got married and had a family, I would know exactly what to look for, and it worked, I did marry a good man. He stood by my dream to move 3000 miles away so I could live at the beach; he never doubted for a second that I would make it happen. He always laughs, and has a good word. He is the most happy when he is around his daughters and grandchildren. He is one of the best people I know, and I have been blessed enough to get to spend my whole life with him as my dad. How lucky am I??
** If you have a GREAT dad, don’t forget to call him up and tell him how awesome he is!!