What do you say …
To the man who gave you everything?
The man who never struck you once despite a childhood of physical abuse from his own father.
The man who enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 after his father died, yet never wanted you to have to fight in a war.
The man who never finished high school, but is one of the smartest people that you know.
The man who started at the bottom of an engineering firm, lugging survey instruments all over the place so that the engineers could get their measurements, yet rose to be the vice-president of marketing for that firm.
The man who worked a full day at the office and then left the house after dinner to construct decks on the side in order to make extra money to send you and your sisters to excellent high schools.
The man who took his experience in marketing, left his safe VP job and rolled the dice on himself and a business partner that he didn’t really know that well.
The man who helped grow the new architectural and engineering firm from 3 employees to more than 150, who earn good livings doing important work.
The man who married the love of his life and stayed loyal and married to her for now 48 years.
The man who rejected the years of racial hatred that his father tried to beat into him, instead becoming a brother to his business partner, who happens to be African-American.
The man who continued loving you even after you left the religion that he had helped raise you in.
The man who suffered a massive heart attack when he was 40 years old, yet soldiered on – giving up cigarettes and changing his eating and his lifestyle – to keep fighting, keep living and to just celebrate his 75th birthday.
What do you say …
I think you start by saying thank you. But that seems so insufficient.
Actually, it is pretty easy to figure out what to say. You say, and you pray, that when you grow up, that you get to be just like him.
Your example. Your true north. Your dad.