Ditching traditional lullabies and rocking me to sleep with Aerosmith songs instead. Teaching me how to drive and explaining (and re-explaining) car maintenance basics. Introducing me to Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, and not batting an eye when I asked to skip a day of school to stand in line for a Bob Dylan show.
Showing me that there’s more than one way to learn math and putting up with my frustrations with it, and totally doing my last elementary science fair project for me (fiber optic cables still aren’t my thing.) Convincing Zen and I that watermelon seed spitting was a real sport. Scaring my friends and I awake from a dead sleep while we camped in the backyard. Embarrassing me at t-ball games and family gatherings. Making me believe for years that snipes existed and that anytime I ate a yellow Skittle I had to yell, “Shazaam!” Which I still silently do, by the way.
Dragging me away from the computer and TV kicking and screaming to visit the Salamonie or Hanging Rock or the park so the fresh air could “blow the stink away.” Insisting that I was smart and talented enough to forget college and drive straight up to Rolling Stone magazine to request a job right out of high school. Staying up late on summer nights to talk about UFOs and the meaning of dreams and other supernatural experiences.
Reading every single one of my newspaper articles twice over and making notes in the margins for later discussion. Make-shifting repairs for anything and everything when I broke it or didn’t take proper care (even if it’s not always a pretty fix.) Offering to go to shows with me when I had no one else to go with, and offering to take out the boys who broke my heart – and reminding me that when things don’t work out, it’s because life has other, better plans.
Thanks for all of it, Dad. Without you, I wouldn’t have such an appreciation for rock and roll, or the great outdoors, or living spontaneously. I wouldn’t have the confidence to pursue my interests or to try my hand at something new, even when I’m not always sure how to start.
I know I haven’t always shown how appreciative I am of you, or how much I love you. But when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t want any other memories with any other dad.