Dad,

Feeling guilty about not getting you a card to send in the mail, but knowing that it doesn’t bother you, even if I forgot about Father’s day altogether.

I have a few thank yous that now I’m a father mean more to me now than they did growing up.

I just want to say…

Thanks for being there, I work with kids every day that look to mom’s boyfriend, uncles, cousins, older brothers, grandpas and even their teacher or coach for a father figure.

I had you, dad.

Thanks for being loyal and faithful to my mother. Your unspoken responsibilities, support and gentleness taught me that marriage is ongoing and that by being fully committed to your bride, you bless your children.

Thank you for blessing your children in that way.

Your sons now have faithful, committed marriages too. You began a generational gift that will likely now repeat as our children observe our marriages.

Thank you for teaching us.

Thank you for making us do chores and work around the house and garage.
Thank you for rejecting our requests for an allowance.

Thank you for teaching me the difference between responsibilities, expectations, and privilege.

Thank you for being the dad in town that always had the “cool” car. I was always proud of the classics, muscle cars, and unique trades you kept in our driveway.

Thank you for making sure your boys had a reliable one to drive at 16.
Thank you for trusting us and letting us drive when we were much younger, though.

Thank you for the curious nature I have and undoubtedly inherited from you.

Thank you for a love of learning, something I didn’t recognize about myself until I was in college, but had observed from you my entire life.

Even in my mid 40’s you captivate me with your knowledge, your doubts, your between-the-lines and outside-the-box ways of thought. To me you are a true genius, but not one of the arrogant types…. the kind that doesn’t intend on others knowing what you know, humble, sweet, wholesome…

Thank you for being so humble and modest.
Thank you for the time you warned me my smart mouth would end with a black eye.
Thank you for not saying a word when it did.

Thank you for being wholesome.
Thank you for appreciating old worn out and broken things.
Thank you for bringing them back to life.

Thank you for always reading. I remember watching you read. Thank you for reading to me every now and then, even if it was something out of Inn Fisherman, Hot Rod magazines, or Reader’s Digest. Also, thank you for the love of Reader’s Digest.

Thank you for the debates at the table, in front of the TV, the front porch with relatives…I learned how to disagree with people respectfully, how to stand up for what I believe, but also how to appreciate other’s points of view and when to be quiet…

Thank you for dropping whatever you were doing to help others. Often a neighbor, a relative, or even total strangers would be in need, you never hesitated. Ever.
….and never complained once about it. Even when the rest of us did.

Thank you for showing me that you do right, because it is right and that it doesn’t matter how inconvenient it is or how much time it takes. Doing right is often the more difficult choice, you always did it anyway.

Thank you for rewarding a hard day’s work with a cold Miller Genuine Draft.
Thank you for teaching us about guns and how to sharpen a knife on a wet rock.
Thank you for letting your boys feel like men.
Thank you for teaching me how to shave.

Thank you for teaching me how to change a spark plug, change the oil and what each little sound is on a running motor.

Thank you for letting me lay next to you when you came home from work when all you really wanted was just to be alone and rest in a quiet, cool room. I have vivid memories of just being a little fella laying there next to you, reading comics soaking in the cold air. I understand now, you needed space… Thank you for welcoming me into your space.

Thank you for being an old soul, a man with morals, so rare today I would swear men like you just don’t exist anymore. And to my experience, they don’t. Your like from a generation four generations ago. A simple living, peaceful but hardworking generation.

Thank you for carrying a pocket knife, a wallet and a handkerchief… at all times.

Thank you for working as hard and as much as you did. We had a good life.

Thank you for working on your own car, repairing your own plumbing, fixing your own broken down machines and teaching me along the way that I am capable of more than I realize.

When you were working on one of your cars in the garage, or one of the many repairs or projects around the house… you’d stop a few minutes to play catch, shoot a jumper, or make us laugh. Thank you for that.

Sometimes you’d make us do the work, supervising and instructing us along the way.

Thank you for making us do the work again if it wasn’t done right the first time. And then again if it still wasn’t right.

Thank you for the many tales you’ve told…over biscuits and gravy, while standing over a grill or trolling from the front of the boat. You are an amazing story teller. I still love to hear you talk about times, people, and things of the past.

Thank you for seeing arrowheads and old carbide lanterns as treasures.

Thank you for taking me treasure hunting with you. I can’t pass a freshly plowed field without the urge to walk it, scanning the soil for some flint.

Thank you for taking me fishing.

I now understand that when you take the kids fishing….the only fishing that gets done is …fishing the hook out of tree limbs or fishing the knot out of the tangled line.

It was more than fishing, you always knew that even when we didn’t.

Thank you for teaching me that fishing and hunting are about experiencing sunrises, sunsets, and all that nature has to offer.

I understood the beauty of floating quietly in a cove as a wispy fog rises from the surface… or being in the woods when beams of sunshine start to tear through the canopy, casting some beautiful contradiction of long dark shadows and brilliant rays of light.

Thank you for not throwing me in the lake that time I hooked and cast your favorite cap into fishy waters. I knew by your expression, it really made you angry…but you never voiced it, you never acted on the anger and after turning the boat around to retrieve your hat, you simply forgave me and let it go without saying a word. The RC Cola and Moon Pie said as much.

Come to think of it. I never once heard you swear. To this day I haven’t. That’s an amazing feat, especially for a dad raising boys who tear up everything you own, find plenty of trouble, and eat you out of house and home.

It’s almost unbelievable and if it were some other guy telling me this about their father, I don’t know that I would believe them. But you’re my dad, and I know it’s absolutely true.

Thank you dad, for modeling composure and self control. You have done it better than anybody I’ve ever seen. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen you lose your cool. That’s cool.

I know you made a lot of sacrifices so that we could have and do fun things.

Thank you for turning around 30 miles down the highway, to go back to the Richmond Truck stop where I had left my Lynyrd Skynyrd cap. I didn’t even know who Lynyrd Skynyrd was, but it was just like my brother’s and I was upset.

Thanks for telling me from the very beginning that I would be a success. I never once thought I wouldn’t be. As I grew, you taught me what measures success is not income, not the size of your house, the shine of your cars or any of the “stuff”…it’s happiness. Dad…I had the best childhood and now as a middle aged man…I’m very happy.

Thanks for your patriotism, your courage, your strength, and your ability to endure with integrity and class.

Thank you for serving our country in Vietnam. Even when many didn’t appreciate it.

Thanks for never letting me quit anything. There were many times the easiest path would have been to just give up…but you always firmly told us we couldn’t…“Always Finish what you Start!” you’d say. It was never an option.

Thanks for making us help you grow things in the garden. I know now that it wasn’t just plants you were cultivating.

Thanks for teaching me how to fillet a fish, make a good batter from scratch, and how to check a steak to make sure it’s just right.

Thanks for teaching me a man’s handshake and good word is all it should take.

Thanks for teaching me that a home is meant to be shared, open to anybody who needs a meal or a bed to sleep. Lord knows, we always had other people staying with us…weeks, months, even years in some cases. I loved it then, I love it even more now as I reflect on what it meant for you and mom.

Thank you for those 5a.m. wake up calls…even weekends and summer days.
“I better hear those feet hit the floor!” My most productive days are days I get the early start.

Thank you for all the mornings I woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs and the sounds of bluegrass music or WLW. Thank you for all those summer nights I went to bed overhearing your radio tuned to Marty and JOE calling the game.

Thank you for the diverse musical taste. I listened to you enjoy Lester Flatt, Don Williams, but also Led Zeppelin, the Commodores, and of course the Beatles. I always enjoyed when you would play your vinyl records and sing along or telling me about what each song was about. Some of the best history and political lessons I’ve ever had were from your explanations of culture in music.

Thank you for appreciating dirt roads, rickety cabins, and rusty old pick up trucks. I love that you built a new house and put a farmhouse screen door on it just so you could hear the spring and slap of the door as it shut.

Thank you for maintaining and passing along our family heritage, the work you do to keep distant generations alive. Thank you for the research, the history, the names, the old photos, the places and for passing that on to us.

Thank you for fighting your battles so courageously. There is no end to your bravery and inner strength.

Thank you for your Hope. Thank you for the Hope you give all of us.

Thank you for blessing my children with the magic that only a teasing, loving, giving grandfather can offer. Your silly whispers in their ears, your sneaking them treats they shouldn’t have, your holding them and point out the details of the woods, the creek, the life, and world all around them. Things we all overlook, you look at directly and specifically.

Thank you again, for leading by example. I watch you and see exactly how to be a father to grown children and also a grandfather to your children’s children.

You are deserving of so much more… of everything.

more treasures
more fishing trips
more stories
more days in the garden
more walks in the woods
more songs
more time with your kids and grandkids

You’ve given all of this to us and have asked for nothing in return. Ever.

Some would call you a simple man. I simply call you a good man.
You taught me that what makes a man, are in fact the simple things.

Dad.. you come from a time long gone. A time when men didn’t speak about emotions. A time when men treated their sons like men long before they actually were. A time when dads didn’t say I love you very often, if at all.

I, of course, am quite emotional, missed out on most of your humility and your quiet strength.

If I’m honest… and I always am. I spent the first 35 years of my life wondering why my father never said “Son, I love you.”

Today…I want you to know…I see now that You did say it it. Loud and Clear. With every single day of your life. Your actions have always said more than your words.

Thank you for truly loving your wife, your sons, your grandchildren, your brothers and sister.

Anyone…ANYONE…can look at how you’ve lived life and see it. You are an amazing man. There are men in this world that love you almost as much as your sons do. I hear it everywhere I go. You weren’t just dad to us. You were dad to cousins, to friends, and even to younger co-workers you had. I just can’t believe I have been lucky enough to call you MY dad.

God Bless you and I truly hope you find joy today, Father’s Day 2020.

I love you dad…and also…I THANK YOU!

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