Saturday, June 15, 2013

A quick post about my dad

My dad is a good, strong man.  I really admire him in lots of ways.  He has so many amazing qualities, some of which he's passed on to me and some of which I'd love to emulate better.

My dad has always been a very hard worker. He grew up in Provo, Utah and had jobs all throughout high school, working shifts as a gravedigger, a clerk in a clothing store, and even a gig as a male fashion model for oh-so-sexy puffy ski pants and parkas (we have the newspaper ad and it's fantastic).  He held down these jobs through high school and college and quickly learned the virtue of saving money, even to a fault.

He served a mission in Mexico and saw the tidal wave of Latino converts when it was but a wee little ripple. He has great stories of cockroaches, playing soccer with kids in the street, patronizing little taquerías and drinking sandía while he walked to and from appointments.

Shortly after returning home, he married my mom, who he met in high school. Theirs is a pretty funny story. They knew each other and had a speech class together, but she never really caught his eye until one day before class. They were standing in a group of mutual friends at the top of a small flight of stairs near the classroom. She made some crack about him and he responded by giving her a gentle shove... at the top of the staircase. She tripped down the stairs, the got right back up and slugged him hard in the gut. The rest of their relationship has followed in similar pattern :)

He held down two jobs during his stint in dental school, waking at 6 am for one job cleaning toilets at the police department, then going to class until his evening job as a clerk in a store. He worked every day from 6 am to 10 pm, and adding to that, he was also the manager of the apartment complex my parents and older siblings lived in, performing maintenance on the apartments whenever necessary.

After graduating, he, my mom and my older siblings moved to Colorado for his residency, where I was born.  Since then, he has never failed to provide a safe and secure income for our family. We lived in solid middle-class comfort, but he never desired the trappings of wealth that many of my friends had. As a child, I envied their dads for buying BMW Z3s, cable television and multiple phone lines for the internet, while we were forced to soldier on with five basic channels and dialup that kicked you off whenever anyone called. But now, as an emerging adult, I'm grateful for his thrift, as it has enabled me to attend college nearly debt-free and will give him and my mom a very comfortable retirement.

He is a shrewd man, but he also has a hearty, bellyaching laugh that comes out frequently.  He enjoys simple humor, preferring a good clean Jeff Foxworthy joke to Adam Sandler. I definitely owe my love of Chevy Chase's Vacation movies to my dad's embarrassing taste in humor.  He loves camping and fishing and as my own Scoutmaster, he imparted useful skills to me, including emergency survival (which may have saved my life once) and first aid.  He also never accepted anything less than my best, sometimes pushing and sometimes shoving me to achieve my Eagle, get good grades, find a job and attend college.

And even though he drove lame 2WD pickup trucks and beaten-to-death minivans during most of my growing-up years, he also has lots of love for classic cars and motorcycles. He's probably to blame or thank for my addiction to all things wheeled and motorized.

Here's a short list of things I owe to my dad:

  • My love of Spanish
  • My love of motorcycles (and the funding for my first motorcycle)
  • My love of classic cars
  • My ability to live on a prayer and budget small income
  • My singing voice and curly hair
  • My love of redneck humor (we're wannabe rednecks in our family. If my dad had his way, we'd go duck hunting in our lifted Pontiac Trans Ams every week)
  • The tattoo I want, even though he won't let me follow his example :P
  • My ability to cook some amazing cheesetoast, the go-to dinner in our home when mom was out of town or busy
  • My love of the outdoors
  • My bordering-on-hatecrime intolerance of litter and my staunch belief in leave-no-trace
  • My thoroughly-respectable skills with a 12-gauge shotgun
  • My willingness to serve
  • My politeness and good manners. Even when mom was out of town, farting and burping were no-nos in our home.
  • And my favorite inherited characteristic, the loud, startling sneeze that regularly makes my mom jump out of her skin.
I wish I was more like him in lots of ways. I wish I had his integrity and love of God and gospel. I wish I was less lazy and more inclined to work for things of value. I wish I loved others unconditionally like he does. I wish I budgeted like he does, wanted less like he does, gave more to others like he does, was less concerned about what others thought like he is, the list goes on.

But I'm nonetheless grateful for my dad's fine example and every day, I feel myself growing a little bit more like him. I hope he's proud of who I am and I hope he'll be proud of who I become. Until then, I'll just keep trying to emulate the good that he's provided me.


  1. I love this post, so beautiful. It makes me think of my dad. I hope I can become more like him.

  2. Great post! I hope you share it with your dad.


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