#1 Dad

17 Jun

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there, especially my own, for whom this post is named after (see above).

I want to take a few minutes to gush about how great my dad is to the whole internet.

First, my dad is the number on reason I am so cultured (the internet is a close second). He learned me in the school of Mealoaf, Cheech and Chong and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. Actually, my dad used to tell us his band was called Mark Whitney and the Delwood Destroyers (he grew up in Delwood) but they don’t have a Wikipedia page, so I’m not convinced they were real.

He’s been my #1 coach my whole life. In kindergarten he volunteered as my class’ soccer coach and didn’t retire until Will went to high school 14 years later. Sometimes he was tough, but most of the time he cracked us up with his teasing and jokes.

He is still a coach to me when I call to ask questions about everything. I trust his advice and I appreciate him sharing it with me even though he knows I won’t always take it.

When I was little him and mom’s favorite show was Home Improvement with Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. I always saw a lot of parallels between their family and ours, except I’ve seen the chins of all of our neighbors. My dad has a special way of including us in his projects and teaching us to do handy things. In middle school he and I hung the suspended ceiling in the basement. We did the math and drew the diagrams to hang the metal frame. He patiently taught me to measure and cut tile.

I told you they love me!

He also made sure I could change the oil in my car and put on a spare, not something all 17-year-old girls can do. Do I want to ever do that again? No, not really. But I know I could if I needed to, so that confidence is totally worth it.

My dad’s not a big subscriber to gender roles. Besides teaching me about cars, he also made sure I could start a lawnmower and even let me cut the grass. He also “let” me help with other cool things, like sanding, painting and grinding meat. But thanks to him, I have mad skillz.

You may not realize how crafty my father is. He would not be caught dead at a craft fair or knitting circle, but he sometimes dyes stuff, learn to tie all kinds of crazy knots in paracord, makes his own bullets and knives and all kinds of other cool things. Thanks to him, I am fearless of new projects and love YouTube tutorials.

My dad also instilled a love of the outdoors in the three of us. We all loved camping trips and floats. I’m a firm believer that camping is not a skill you can acquire later in life. You have to learn to love being dirty for three days in a row and eating camp food as a child, because adult minds cannot justify sleeping outside and getting eaten alive by bugs. I am so grateful my parent took us camping.

Even more than camping, my dad loves hunting. Thanks to him, we eat a lot of vinson, the occasional squirrel, quail, pheasant, turkey or other bird. I’m more fearless in general when eating weird stuff.

Speaking of eating, my dad spends a lot of time both working in his garden and bragging about it to my grandma. All summer, we (aka me when I go back) enjoy fresh salads and the most divine tomatoes ever. He taught me everything I know about plants because my mom can’t even keep silk plants alive.

My dad has a special brand of tough love. Now, I don’t want to paint a picture comparing him to Joe Jackson. That is actually quite the opposite of my father, he’s actually very nice and none of his kids are even vaguely musically talented. But back to tough love, he has always had really high expectations for us, which in turn made us high performers. Or at least we like to think so.

After I was too old for spankings, when I got in trouble, my dad would always talk it out. Of course, this involved him telling me how disappointed he was in me, which is going straight to the juglar for his ultra-sensitive daughter. Oh man, those were rough, but I’m glad I was treated like an adult. Thank you, Dad.

I hope he and all of the other dad out there are having a relaxing day. I wish I could celebrate with you today dad, but know that I love you and your present is still on backorder.


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