Here’s to You, Dad

I am teetering between rich joy and tender sadness. Father’s Day is just a few days away and many of you are planning incredible surprises for your father, your husband, your grandfather. While I no longer have a father or grandfather to surprise, or a husband . . . just yet . . . I still can celebrate my dad by telling you a bit about him.

This photo is one of my all-time favorites of Dad who is holding his first grandchild, Stephanie, who is only two months old here. I love Dad’s little dip of the head and his proud grin. You see, Myron, was truly a manly man who grew up on a Nebraska farm, managed to join the Merchant Marines in World War II (a little underage), and went on to marry a Minnesota city gal. Dad started his successful career with Phillips 66 in 1955 and later he added Sinclair to his service station and petroleum distribution business throughout southeast Nebraska.

Mom&DadStephnie1985 - Version 3When I look at this photo of Dad, I see his dark, wavy hair and think of Andy Griffith. Come to think of it, my dad and Andy were much alike. Easy-going fathers and well-respected leaders in their Mayberry-small towns. A dry sense of humor with a love for fishing and down-home cooking. A dedication to family and faith. A generosity that often helped the underdog take another step forward. A profound wisdom not derived from education. And a friend gregariously patient with life’s jittery Barney Fife types.

Of course, no father is perfect, but I have a difficult time thinking of mistakes my dad made in life. I know your relationship with your own father may bring about more angst than fond memories. I am truly sorry. I’m writing this not to brush against any scars you bear in your relationship with your father, but hoping to nudge us all to honor the good in our dads. Not the perfect but the good.

So this weekend while you may be treating the dads in your life to favorite foods, a new power tool, or a baseball game, I may just head up to the mountains and take a drive on the curvy highway that made even my brave-hearted yet flatlander father squeal a bit with a “weeee…whoahhhh” when we edged a little too close to the drop-offs. Here’s to you, Dad!

Brave and Resilient Tip #30: Look for and celebrate the good, not the perfect in others.