Sunday was Father’s Day, I know it’s old news now!

Today would have been my dad’s birthday if he were still here. The two holidays for me have kind of melded into one. The last time I had a conversation with my dad was on his birthday, which was also Father’s Day.

For many years my dad was in a nursing home. There was never really a diagnosis to what was happening with him, but he simply couldn’t function any longer at home.

Over time it was like he was there, but he didn’t communicate any longer, so we spent many hours sitting by his bedside, mostly just quietly crying.

Right after he had gone into the nursing home there was an incident where another one of the men in there had become agitated and was threatening one of the gals that worked there. She told us that my dad didn’t say anything, but he quickly got out of his chair and stood between her and the man to protect her. She said it was almost like a reflex for him.

That didn’t surprise me at all. That’s who my dad was.

My dad was an over the road truck driver so he wasn’t home much. He had always said that after he left his factory job and had a taste of trucking that he couldn’t go back to the factory.

This last weekend as we traveled home through the Ozarks, I understood why. The beauty of this land is something you can’t create, as hard as we try, we can’t make anything as awesome as creation.

But anyway, back to my dad, because he was gone, he wondered if our dog, a golden lab named Germs, would protect us if someone came in and was trying to hurt us. He did something I thought at the time was a bit unorthodox, (that in itself was not new) he pretended to be attacking my sister or my mom, I can’t remember which, just to see what the dog would do. The dog went nuts. He started pulling on his leg to get him away and did what you HOPE that your dog does if you are really being attacked. He growled, barked and went after my dad.

The dog was of course a bit confused, but we made it clear to him that he had done the right thing and he was indeed a good dog!

Every week before my dad would climb into his semi to leave, he’d make sure everything was taken care of.  If it was winter, he’d haul enough wood into the house to fill the giant “wood box” that he had built, and in the summer he’d take care of anything outside that needed to be mowed or trimmed before he left.

He’d make the rounds checking under all the hoods of the cars to make sure that they were ready for another week without him.

He was one of those handymen that could fix anything.

He wasn’t one to share his feelings much. Talk for hours about the crazy things that happened during his last week of trucking, yes. but sit down and tell you that he loved you, well, he might say the words, but he never got into the specifics of why or just how much. He did show us. Every day.

I remember when Dean had asked if he could marry me, he simply said, “Just don’t hurt her.”

In many ways Dean reminds me of him. I had a good pattern to follow when it came to choosing a mate. I wanted someone, well, like my dad.

A guy that was a hard working, but a softy when it came to little kids.

A guy that when his aunt called a couple months ago, he quickly made plans to help her.

The things that Dean did over the last two months to help his aunt, made me appreciate and love him a little more. You see what you’ve really got when the chips are down, and honey, they were really down for a while there.

Of course, I also realized that like my dad, he had had great examples to follow. His grandpa, which quite a few around Vinton knew, was a generous guy and never gave a second thought to giving away the vegetables from his garden. He could have sold them I’m sure, but I think he grew them just to give them away.

His dad was the same way. He’d never had much, but what he had was yours if you needed it.

We were blessed by so many that I know could say the same thing about their dads. I know that because of the adults they are now.

I don’t know about other women, but I don’t mind having the door held open for me, and I always thank the man that holds it open. I am a little giddy if a tire goes flat and a gentleman stops to change it for me.

Please DON’T get in touch with your feminine side guys, there’s something to be said about having a guy around that is tougher than I am, but one that has the ability to hold the hand of a little child.

To the men out there that are doing it right, being responsible, taking care of your families, taking time to help a child, and well, being all you can be, thank you from the rest of us. The world is a better place because of people like you!