I have his quick wit. The smirk that takes the place of any smile when I'm annoyed--that's his. My horrendously uncontrollable wavy hair came from him. My hot German-Irish temper? Yep, his. The sport I find in pointing out the awkwardness of complete strangers to those with me and get my companions in side-stitches while leaving the object of our amusement totally unaware? Also his. My love of being at and on the sea and having wind whistling through my ears, drowning out all other sound came from him too. My fastball. My high blood pressure.
My dad may not have been the 'best dad in the world'; he actually terrified my friends on more occasions than I care to recall. Shoot, he terrified ME half the time! But he was and is MY dad. He was the best for ME. Lessons I learned from my dad have shaped who I am, and that is priceless. He won't ever read this, because he can't stand even the idea of computers and thinks the internet is ridiculous. He turned 70 a couple of weeks ago, and he is too far away and too frail to visit on a regular basis. At this point in his life, because of his physical limitations, he can barely have a phone conversation. Does that break my heart? Sure it does. I remember the man who used to scale 45-degree slopes on muddy canal banks to grab a baby alligator from its nest just to lure the mama out and scare me and the neighbor kids senseless. I remember the man who would walk a mail route during the day, come home and mow the yard, and still have enough energy to make dinner. I remember those harsh fisherman-hands that baited hooks and reeled in huge king fish that my tiny little frame couldn't handle, all while trying to maintain balance on the rolling Atlantic waves. MY mind doesn't immediately identify the man who can barely stand as my father. I don't even think HE identifies the man he is now with who he really is. His pride and stubbornness won't let him.
I guess I got that from him too. He may not have many more "happy" Father's Days, but I'm glad he got the ones he had. Love you, Dad!