Ever since I can remember I looked up to my dad. From the time I was a little girl, standing head to knee, to a young adult standing shoulder to shoulder—I admired him, idolized him, and wanted to emulate him. It’s no wonder, though, everyone likes my dad. To this day, I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t have a kind word to say about him. He makes friends wherever he goes because he’s kind and generous and not just monetarily. He gives of himself and his time. He is a longstanding and active member of his church where he also taught Sunday school. He belongs to the Knights of Columbus and is actively involved with a local theater, The Bobcat Players, and a few years ago, he won Beaver County’s Man of the Year award. There’s no doubt in my mind that he deserved it and I’m sure all the friends, neighbors and strangers he’s helped over the years feel the same—chivalry is alive and thriving in my dad.
When I was a little girl, about eight or so, we were driving through a small town called Bauerstown. He pulled the car over to the curb and parked it and without a word my dad got out, walked up to the sidewalk and assisted an elderly lady up a set of steep church steps. Once his task was complete, he returned to the car and pulled back onto the roadway. I remember asking him why he did that. He told me because she looked like she needed help. No lengthy flowery speech; just simple and to the point.
That’s my dad; he’s a simple man. He doesn’t require a lot. He respects others and believes they should respect him in return, and they do.
He isn’t a do as I say not as I do kind of father; he teaches by example. He taught us not to lie, cheat or steal by his own actions and I have never known him to do anything unsavory. Once, my half-sister (not my dad’s daughter) asked me to verify something with him, for her. I did, so when he answered me and I passed the information onto my sister, she replied, “It’s the truth because Kenny never lies”, and, like I said, he doesn’t, however, he has been known to just NOT answer. I suppose no response is better than a lie or maybe he’s just being stubborn—he has that down to a science, which was passed along to his children.
He also passed his love of country and nature down to us kids too. He took my siblings and me hiking in the woods a lot when we were young. We were NOT EVER permitted to litter. If we had any paper, or if we found any lying about, he would tell us to put it in our pockets until we found a trash can. I taught my sons the SAME thing and to this day I find candy wrappers in my washing machine.
He also hates when public property is disrespected or left out of place—like grocery carts, for example. One day in a parking lot I watched as my son, Dalan, grabbed a stray cart and pushed it into the cart return, something I had done countless times without even thinking about it. I looked at him and asked, “Where did you learn that?”
“Poppy,” Dalan replied nonchalantly. I smiled inside and out because THAT’S what my dad taught each and every one of his six children (and obviously his grandchildren)—if you see a cart out of place, take it to the cart return or to the store, don’t leave it in a parking space; it could block someone from parking or worse, get blown INTO a car!
My dad is very handy and can fix or build anything: cars, electronic devices, computers, barns, once he even built his own home alarm system using old telephone parts! Up until I got married, I called my dad anytime I needed something fixed. Although, even as a married woman, there are still times when I need my dad to repair something. Like the time my furnace broke in the dead of winter and I couldn’t contact my husband who was out in the field.
Dalan was only two years old and the house was FREEZING! My dad had a pager so I paged him and he called me within minutes. I frantically explained the situation and he said he would be there as soon as he could—he was on his was to Harrisburg for work but turned around and came to my house to get my furnace working until we could get a new one installed. He wasn’t going to let his daughter or grandson freeze to death! To tell you the truth, though, he would’ve done that for anyone, because he’s just that kind of guy!
It’s the little things about my dad that I love the most. How he’ll listen and sympathize with me when I cry or give me a what for when I need a kick in the butt. He’s there with an opinion, a shoulder, a hug, a helping hand or he’s a story-teller, weaving tales of the past with his wit and charm. Or he’s just my daddy, hiking with me through the woods, listening to me ramble about my dreams or reading my blog.
My dad has been there since the day I was born. He has nurtured, guided, worried, tested, harangued and loved me in spite of my flaws and mistakes and probably wishes the furnace incident had been repeated over and over rather than having gone through some of the scrapes I had gotten myself into. And when I say gotten myself into, I mean it. Drama doesn’t fall from the sky and boy oh boy was I ever the Drama Queen! How my dad survived those years, I have no clue.
I only know that he has loved me unconditionally all my life. I love my dad with all my heart and I’m proud he’s my dad and I’m honored to be his daughter.