My Dad

If honor was money, I’m fairly certain my dad would be the wealthiest man in the world.

Heck — if patience was money, he’d be even wealthier. He’d put Gates to shame. He’d put Buffett to shame. If only honor and patience could ever outweigh one’s efforts in the telecom, oil, real estate, technology and/or sports industries, he’d be retired and living it up on on a golf course. Or beach. Or a golf course on a beach.

My mom has wondered on occasion what she did “to deserve my dad.” Given my grandparents’ shenanigans and antics, I like to say to her, “You lived with your parents for 18 years. That’s what you did.”

The answer isn’t meant to seem as mean-spirited as it comes across at first, I promise you. It’s meant to simply acknowledge what a great guy my dad is. He’s never been that guy to ogle another woman, to be rude in his responses, to shirk his duties. I remember growing up and having taco night; fixing the taco meat was always his job, and he prepared it expertly — even throwing in a rhythmic tap-tap-tap-tuh-taptap-tuh-tap-tap on the side of the skillet with the wooden spoon occasionally. He showed me how to drive, and how to change a tire. He showed me how to light a match safely, and how to prune rosebushes. He skews quiet, so when he talks, people listen. He’s held my mom on a pedestal since day one, and I think it’s a delightful thing to behold in this day and age.

I can recall numerous instances from grades 6-12 where my accountant dad pulled up a chair at the kitchen table and patiently explained — then re-explained — countless math problems to me. I’d rarely do them his way or the teachers’ way when it came to test time, but I’d usually find my way to the right answer.

When I went to Michigan State, I’d just started getting migraines two years before. Wouldn’t you know it, come test day when we needed to sit in a large auditorium and take a test to determine what math level we’d start in, I got the largest of migraines. As the Scantron sheets were being passed around and hundreds of other would-be students sat around me, my head started to throb…and the last thing I really cared about was a math placement test. I probably should’ve cared, but I didn’t. I cared about my head, particularly about my cranium not malfunctioning and exploding — thus spewing brain matter around the hall.

As best I could, I looked the form in front of me, then looked at the lengthy, multi-page sheet with the questions on it…and I knew what I had to do.

C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C.

I repeatedly filled in the same bubble, and figured I’d probably somehow place into the level above remedial math. After all, isn’t “C” always the right answer?

Fail. I placed into a remedial math class of 20 people…as did four of the guys who were on the football team.

In reality, it was a lame strategy — if “C” really was “always” the right answer — since I could’ve placed into the most difficult level possible. Fortunately, the answer wasn’t “always C” in this case, and I got what I deserved…and, frankly, what I was capable of.

But I digress. I have a pretty healthy — yet rational — respect for marriage. They (whoever “they” are) say that 50% of marriages fail. Well, eight out of 11 weddings I’ve been to since 2006 have ended in divorce. If you do the math, that’s better than 50%. Part of my fear of marriage is that I see my parents’ union going on 47 years, and it seems so daunting. Granted, my parents got married when they were 19 and 20, but 47 years from now, I’ll be 83.

83.

My parents aren’t anywhere near 83 right now. Yes, some generations start later. But regardless of the age I am when I tie the knot — if I tie the knot — I pray that the person on the other end is someone who makes me feel as comforted, as secure and as happy as my dad makes my mom.

Tonight I am thankful for my dad, for his guidance, his wisdom, his counsel and for his drumming when preparing taco meat (I do that very thing when I make my own taco meat these days). I’m thankful that we’d have such a wonderful rock in our family, and such a role models to look up to across the decades.

Love you, dad.

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