Today would have been my dad’s 84th birthday. He taught me hard work, mechanics, carpentry, frugality, and even a few new cuss words I had never heard. When other kids were playing, he had my brother and I working on cars, busting down swimming pools, helping around the house, and any other chores he could come up with.
He was far from perfect, as most of us are. He had an inherent mistrust of people, a bit paranoid at times, and quite insecure as well. You see, he grew up being largely unwanted by his family, and it took a lot of time for us to break through that wall.
He spoke a lot about his boys, my brother Art and me. When I went to claim my dad’s remains and make funeral arrangements in the little town of DeBerry, Texas, his neighbors, friends, and fellow church members knew all about Art and me, even though we had never met them. My dad spent a lot of time talking about us.
I call this post Happy “Dad’s” Day because this man was my dad, even though he was not my biological father. From day one of his marriage to my mom we never used the word step-father or step-sons. When we asked him what we should call him after he married my mom, he said “call me Don.” We asked if we could call him dad (my brother and I were 10 and 8), he said that would be ok. We never called him anything else.
On Father’s day this is the man I think of, not the biological father who chose to leave us when I was two years old, never to be seen again. Thank you Dad, for loving us, protecting us, and showing us what a Dad should be. I hope I make you proud.