25 Years Ago Today-A Tribute to My Dad
Inspiration is found in a variety of places. In the locker room it's the coach's pregame speech, for those that are religious, Sunday mornings bring a message designed to inspire them through their week, and for students, a favorite teacher offers words of hope in the face of a challenging topic. For some though, the inspiration is silent and can't be seen.
Twenty-five years ago today, as a nine year old, I stood by my father's side as he took his final breathe, losing his four-year battle with cancer. I didn't stop standing by his side until the backhoe moved the last load of dirt in the back section of Restland Cemetery- a process I needed to experience. Maybe I was holding out hope that it was all a joke, I don't know- I can't remember. I just know I wanted nothing more than to be there until the end.
Here we are 25 years later, and I am doing something that undoubtedly would cause my father to smile, make a sarcastic--but very dry--comment about my processes, and swear at a stubborn chainsaw that won't hold tension on the chain. Most importantly though, he would make his trademark move. He'd pat me on the back--no hugs, just a pat on the back--and say "I'm proud of you, Son." He would surely follow that with, "how in the hell did you break a brand new saw?", and it'd probably be deserved.
Daddy was a strong, quick-witted man, that didn't take shit from anyone. He took his anger out on grease guns and dumpsters, and as a business man his philosophy was "the customer is always wrong." I don't imagine him giving a rah-rah speech to his employees, or even to Kim and I. Instead, I remember a man that always worked hard, pushed himself to the edge, and fought for everything that he had. That is my inspiration. I hope that someday, 50 years from now, someone says those same things about me.
I miss my Dad. I wish he could see what I am doing. But anyone that knew him and knows me can see that he has left and indelible mark on my life. He is, has been, and always will be an inspiration.