I hope that everyone has a moment for their Dad today. Whether it is in thought, or company; all day visit, or a quick phone; present in your life, or passed on to an eternal life, our Dad’s are special. I have been so blessed with my father. I have nothing to say, but praise for my Dad. I also know that there are those who might not be able to say that. Please keep in mind this, without him, you wouldn’t be here, today. There is a blessing to that, in my mind. Life is good, very, very good, because of one person. If he wasn’t in your life as you grew up, he still brought you in to this world, and look what you are experiencing. LIFE! It’s amazing, because a man, a father, can be many things, but he brought you here. Enjoy this life, it’s special, and it made us all what we are.
I never knew my Dad to NOT have at least TWO jobs, or more. He was a policeman, (one I wouldn’t want to mess with!). I heard stories from his partners, and friends; but beyond that, he was a very fair man, and nothing meant more to him than his family, and God. That was his life. Working two jobs, and still coaching my little league team, still coaching my basketball team, and coaching me in football, (why not, he was all-city, as a football player!). Nothing would stand in the way of his family, and trust me, he was a father to us, (my brother and sister), not a best friend. As I grew up, I learned that that was the way to raise a child; to be a parent first, not to be best friends. I was told that if I played sports, I will get an allowance, and didn’t have to work, for my spending money. If I wasn’t playing sports, I had to work, very simple. Maybe that’s why I was always active in sports, I didn’t want to work! As I got older, I started to realize what he had put into me, into our family, and then I realized, we were “best friends”, and I suspect, still are.
When I played Little League, I, and my brother, actually played for a team sponsored by the Peoria Police Department. What my Dad did, was go to a Department Benevolent meeting, to see if the Department could financially sponsor a trip for Dad and team to go to Chicago to see a Cubs game. He did this for 3 years. By the way, for those that don’t know, we were from Peoria, about 2 hours south of Chicago. This was a special function. When we were growing up, trips like that weren’t common. So on the trip, was to have a lunch/dinner at a family style restaurant, and eat until we could burst, and we did! Then we got into Wrigley Field, and we got hot dogs, sodas, souvenirs, anything we wanted, all on the Police Dept. funds! It was so great, and as you can believe, this was an all day ordeal. All on my Dad’s time. A couple of other Dad’s “volunteered” for this trip, also; I’m sure that they had a good time, too! On one of those trips, we saw the Cubs pitcher, Ken Holtzman, throw a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves! Come on you guys, when can any of us say something like that? I certainly can’t say that I’ve seen another one! One man, memories for many. What I have learned, is that people will forget what you said, and some will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made the feel. Ask any of my teammates.
Sometimes we think about the discipline that our father’s gave us, and that puts a frown on our faces; sometimes we need to think about the time, and energy that Dad had to put in, after work. It’s hard for me to imagine that, (for my Dad), I can’t work my time in, and that’s just for me! That is why I call our Dad’s, our Hero’s. Obviously, their lives changed after we came into their lives, and they did it; I don’t know how, but they did it. God bless ’em. My Dad is 82, and God blessed me with the man who shaped my life, made me know what is good, and what is bad,(which I didn’t adhere to when I was in college!). They still drive 5 hours to come and see me, can you believe that? Hard for me to believe; but I just wanted to say thanks, Dad, for everything you have given me. Love, support, money (ha!), family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I love you, much more than I’ve actually said. Let’s go have a COLD BEER! (as they say at the ball park!).