My dad is pretty cool. As I start on my "what I love about my dad" rant, one thing that would be good to note here is my dad's passion for accuracy. Oh, if some paid me every time he corrected my grammar -- "Shooting went good." "Well, you mean well." "Yeah, well." "Yes, you mean yes." "Yes, sorry Dad, I forget." "No, you don't remember." And so on and so forth. I am not a fan of semantics, and I tend to play loose with facts for dramatic effect, and I misquote people frequently. This is the antithesis of my dad. He's a lover of truth like that. So of course, I am bound to mess up somewhere here factually, and I am going to incriminate him horribly from here on out. Sorry Dad.
I got an email from my dad today, and this is awesome for two reasons: First of all, my dad reads the Wall Street Journal daily, and wants me to be smart, and so he emails or circles for me articles that are especially informative or ones he thinks will interest me. It makes me happy that he wants to share things with me, and that he wants me to be smart. And secondly, the subject line of the email said "how many more children must die before we really take this problem seriously?" The article he sent me was titled, "Malaria, Politics, and DDT." My dad is an insanely busy individual, almost as busy as my mom, and yet he still cares about the big picture. He has compassion for the hurting, and wants to instill that same compassion in his kids.
And my dad really loves people, family especially. Yesterday he drove six hours to Vermont and six hours back to take my grandpa to my great uncle Harry's funeral. A few weeks ago he had me wrap a wedding present for a lady he works with. He never goes anywhere without bumping into people he knows. My dad is a networker and an evangelizer. He used to do prison ministry. He is still close friends with his roommates from college, and goes out of his way to stay in touch with them. My dad Facebook stalks people. My mom says he tracked down his family in Vermont of his own initiative, reconnected with them, and has maintained the relationships to date. Even right now, he's conversing with a couple in our dining room while fielding calls from church, because he's people oriented. Because of my dad, I know some of the coolest people, because he knew them first.
I also think my dad is one of the smartest people I know. He has an incredible memory - not only does he remember all these people who have come in and out of his life, but he can recall each of their phone numbers, occasionally even their addresses. He is vastly well read (he is subscribed to The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The Smithsonian, and reads The Drudge Report every night), a fan of biographies and history, and definitely opinionated as a result. He has a ridiculous vocabulary, is a grammar fiend, and is an adept writer. I think he could make a living as a writer, if only in the retelling of the crazy stories of things he's done. (Something about hitch-hiking to Jefferson City, or almost setting the house on fire with a chemistry set?) My dad is my most valuable debate resource, and has taught me or pushed me to learn some of the most necessary things I've ever benefited from.
One of the most striking things about my dad, though, is that he is a servant. He hates the phone, but he has never failed to make a phone call for my mom or me. He hates the snow, and yet every winter he shovels without complaining. He takes care of my grandpa almost single-handedly. He's always making dinner for us, or washing the dishes for me, or doing the laundry for Sarah, or taking out the garbage for Caleb, or running errands for my mom . . . without being asked and without seeking thanks and without taking credit. He's an elder, a piano player, and a prayer team leader at our church, and he is the sole member of the ministry that puts verses and things on the sign by the side of the road near our church. My dad works so hard at his job, picking up overtime whenever he can, to provide for our family. When there's a song I like on the radio, he turns it up. When there's a movie Mom wants to see, he goes with her. When Caleb and Maggie want to play video games with him, he obliges. He feeds the cat when Sarah forgets. He always puts our desires over his own.
My dad likes real butter, not the plastic margarine stuff. My dad wears shorts in the dead of winter. My dad is a sick piano player. My dad loves Ronald Reagan and C.S. Lewis. My dad does snowball fights with us in the winter and water gun fights with us in the summer. My dad turned our family to Macs. My dad is a sharp dresser. My dad claims to understand feng shui. My dad has shown me some of my favorite movies. My dad makes the best chocolate sauce and Belgian waffles. My dad lets me wear his old sweatshirts. My dad has breadth and depth of taste in music, and shares it with me. My dad loves ice cream. My dad owns a ridiculous amount of books. My dad loves the Red Sox. My dad is easy to laugh. My dad does insanely hard crossword puzzles. My dad loves taking us places. My dad is wonderfully nostalgic. My dad is exceedingly patient. My dad is incredibly wise. My dad is a man of great character. My dad loves my mom and my siblings and me almost as much as he loves Jesus. I don't understand why I have been so blessed to have such a dad when other people don't even know their fathers, but I love my dad.