Well, here I am trying to “celebrate” another Father’s Day. These types of holidays are always difficult for me. Sure I love to tell my Dad how much I appreciate him.. but hearing it is hard. Hmmm, always wondered why. Oh well, I get the same anxiety for Christmas and my birthday.

So today I want to take a minute and recognize the “dudes” in my life that have made a difference or shown me wisdom.

My Dad

My Dad showing me his newest publication..

Known to some as professor Craig, CB Craig.. to me it was and IS Dad. My Dad has been an educator for most of his life. He recently retired from USU in Logan Utah. But we also lived in Massachusetts and Ohio in my younger years. He was working on his Masters Degree and Doctorate. Before he was a teacher, he was an athlete. He played baseball, football, he was a wrestler and a golden gloves boxer. His passion for sports wasn’t limited to dry land sports, he also raced boats. Cracker Box boats. Those are the ones with the drivers behind the engine.. I remember the stories of his childhood. The fun stories and the not so nice ones too. You see my Dad grew up in a family that was dealing with alcoholism. My Grandfather was a mean drunk, and wasn’t discriminate with those he would hurt when he had the liquid courage in his veins. I was told that this was why my Dad started boxing.. to defend himself, from his dad and his older brother. My Dads family has a bunch of girls and two boys. My uncle Bob was a Navy guy.. I only remember seeing him a couple of times. He never looked too intimidating to me. But the time I met him, he had been through a lot of the tough things life has to deal. He eventually died of complications due to diabetes. My uncle always seemed sad or angry to me. My Dad on the other hand seemed to also turn the other cheek and by the time was old enough to “hang out” with the ‘guys’, it seemed my dad had made amends with both his Dad and older brother.

My Dad is a very philosophical thinker. All the university classes probably help with that. Growing up, he would always quote things like, “truth is truth, regardless of the source”.. words that have stuck with me. He would always ask questions to make me think about my motives for decisions.  at the time I though it was a huge hassle, now I look back and see that he was simply teaching me to have purpose and commitment behind my choices. I have grown to love that lesson.. as I’m sure my kids will someday too.

My Dad was always my little league coach… and I was good. At least that’s what he would say… and still does actually. I loved the game, but didn’t like the senseless brutality.. I too was a bit of a philosopher. So when I told my Dad I was quitting football to play in the band, I swear I saw him cry.. but he never let on. My choice to be a percussionist in the band was a dream I need to follow. You know, I can’t think of one concert or performance that my Dad missed. He was always there supporting me. I really appreciated that about him.. I will never forget all those band concerts and marching competitions.. sometimes across the country.. and my Mom and Dad were always waiting at the end of the show to congratulate me on a show well done. I know he probably would’ve preferred watching me beat the crap out of a quarter back and being MVP.. but he stood by my side and supported me.

When I was 12 I broke my leg skiing and was rushed to the hospital. My Mom and Dad met me at the hospital. When the doctor showed my parents the X-rays, my Dad had to leave the room. To this day that event is shrouded in controversy. My Mom swears that the X-ray made him sick, he says that just needed some air.  I didn’t care, I was happy to see him there. I was visited in the hospital by a couple of my hero’s from the USU football team.. my Dad knew them all. Louie Giamona (who later played for the Philadelphia Eagle) signed my cast and gave me one of his practice jersey’s.. which I still have by the way.

Over the years, my Dad has experienced some of life’s tough road too. He lost his Dad to cancer.. this sad. I had the chance to spend time with my Grandpa Craig… once in a while he’d take me fishing. I don’t really remember catching any fish, but I remember eating big ham sandwiches and eating huge tomatoes from my grandpa’s garden. The Boat was an old,  slow wooden boat, but who cared.. I was with my grandpa.. My dad came along sometime too. I learned that fishing isn’t ever about catching fish… it’s spending time together. This is actually my Dad and I still talk about… when we plan to go fishing.

When my parents got divorced, I know it was hard for him. But, he’s one of those guys that never want to show too much emotion. Even though the divorce was hard for all of us, it also forced all to get closer and rethink our family paradigm. Both my parents have since been remarried, and found great partners for their needs.

My Dad later found out that he will need both knees replaced… so, being the tough guy that he is, he decided to do both at the same time. Not a great idea. He forgot that this would make him totally immobile for quite a while. Thank God Shauna, his wife, is a patient person.. and a nurse. My Dad of course tried to walk too soon, and made his recovery longer than it needed to be. All good now though..

My Dad has of course always been my mentor and hero. I love you Dad.. thank you for the lessons taught and realized. Thanks for the support and unconditional love. Thank you for the “tough love” too.. you’re my buddy and I’m glad we have always been close.

Now when the hell are we finally going FISHING???

Grandfathers

I already mentioned my grandpa Craig… I knew him as a kind generous cool dude. I lived in Utah County for a year or so and spent some time visiting with him before he died. I was in the hospital the day before he passed and even then he was joking with me about how he was trying to get the cute nurses to give him a sponge bath. He died of cancer, but didn’t tell anyone about it. We saw a journal later where he recorded his thoughts. He knew about the cancer way before it became a problem. He recorded that he had back pain, went to the doctor… pain meds… and then “6 months to die…” and the journal ended. My Grandpa was a former coal miner and had been diagnosed with Black Lung from the coal dust. He was also a chain smoker, heavy drinker and diabetic. I simply knew him as my white-haired Grandpa that lived in a trailer in Orem. I loved/love him.. and I miss him…

My Grandpa Atkin is still around. I got to see him recently at a missionary farewell… He’s 93 now and still loves to hike the hills and mountains of St. George.

Grandpa Atkin

My Grandpa is blind now, but completely sharp and ‘with it’. My Grandmother passed away last year and he is so lonely and sad. He has moved out of their big house and into a condo in St. George.

When I was a kid, I remember going fishing and hiking with him. With Grandpa Atkin, fishing was definitely about catching fish. Worms, lures, flies… didn’t matter. We used to joke that he could catch fish out of a bathtub.. hmmm, he was plumber by trade… hmmmm.. he grew up in the desert herding sheep. His Dad was a sheep herder too.. and a fisherman. My Grandfather was in WW II as a radio operator in the South Pacific. Maybe that’s where I got my radio genes.. My grandpa had 4 kids.. my Mom was the only girl. My love for the Polynesian culture and food came directly both my Grandparents. They lived in Samoa and New Zealand serving as welfare missionaries. I can’t eat Hawaiian food, see pictures of any South Pacific island without getting emotional and thinking about their influence on my colorful childhood.

I love you Grandpa.. you are one of my hero’s. You have been a faithful, strong, resilient, kind, innovative example for me. Thank you..

There of course have been many great male influences in my life. Good friends, neighbors, cousins, siblings, uncles, family, church leaders, co-workers, in-laws… I have a great group around me and always have.

Today I want to recognize all the major male influences in my life.. too many to mention, but none forgotten.

Thank you….

Today I am rich!!

Advertisements