I Turned Out Like You After All, Dad

Suggestion: Read post below before watching video!

My Real Memoir

Even when he wasn’t there, Dad was there. He was an invisible presence, like gravity, that kept us from flying off into space. Mom celebrated me just as I was. But Dad was passionate about making me what I could be. Sometimes that passion made his love, unlike Mom’s, seem conditional. But wasn’t, it was just his dogged, if imperfect, commitment to seeing me succeed in life.

WWII was over before he got there, but Dad was proud of his Marine Corps training, nevertheless. And so, for while, he tried the boot camp approach: He insisted I make my bed so drumhead-smooth he could “bounce a quarter off it!” (Mom fixed it when he wasn’t looking.) He wanted me to wake up with the sun, so he sang reveille in my ear at 6 a.m., and when I didn’t respond he splashed a glass of water in my face, and shouted with a grin, “Up and at ‘em!” (Mom let me go back to sleep after he left for work.)

Dad was about commitment. To Mom. To me. To us.

Honestly? I was in awe of him, and occasionally a little afraid (he had a temper). But he also made me laugh. A lot. And he showed me how to do things. A lot. Sometimes perfectly and sometimes not so much, like when the boomerang he demonstrated “how to throw” never came back. But even that was a lesson, he said, in never giving up, in trying until you got things right!

Our first little home had a tiny “grove” of baby orange trees. It was doubtful they’d survive the winter, but Dad was committed! So he fertilized them, staked them to make them grow straight, and threw lots of water at them (“Up and at ‘em!”).

I decided to reward him for his efforts by gathering up all the “ripe” oranges that had fallen to the ground (they were rotting, but what did I know?), and proudly presenting them to Dad for Father’s Day!

Long after he’d passed away, I made a short Father’s Day video about the incident for my church, only I changed it from orange to apple trees (since oranges don’t grow in Cincinnati). I suppose it was my belated way of saying, “Guess what, Dad? I turned out like you after all…”

And I’m glad I did.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Videos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to I Turned Out Like You After All, Dad

  1. Pingback: When Your World Changes | Mitch Teemley

  2. I suppose I am like my father, too. He died of cancer at the age of 60. He was a first-responder for 9/11. His cancer was caused by the dust from the Twin Towers. After that tragic day, he never spoke much about what he did on the job as a paramedic in NYC. Although, he adored his profession for what he did.

    Of course, I still remember him. It took 6 years for me to cry over his loss. He died when I was 17.

    I suppose I am like him, because I have been committed, as well, to all that I do. I’ve helped people, kept most things under control, and I sometimes wonder if he’d be proud.

    Just as both my father and yours were committed people, I also strive to be someone just like that. Though, loyalty comes with pain. I have experienced that, in the self-sacrifice that is made for another to stand…

    …and sometimes I wonder if those Twin Towers still stood, what kind of person would I be? Would anything be different? Perhaps not, since all things fall, eventually. Then, someone else carries the torch onward.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. I was particuarly touched by this because I wasn’t blessed with a loving father. God provided that, nevertheless, I learned a lot of things I should avoid as a father. Thank God, I firmly believe, our own adult children feel loved.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Abe Austin says:

    You didn’t tell me to not watch the video at work! Now I gotta sink down in my cubicle and dry my eyes all subtle-like!

    Liked by 7 people

  5. trE says:

    Aww, Mitch, this is great! And the video made me smile incredibly wide. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing the very heart touching story, Mitch! Have a beautiful week! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  7. haoyando says:

    Wow, what a great father. I am impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marlapaige says:

    Perfect song for this post: Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pastorpete51 says:

    Beautiful Mitch. We do pick up more things from our dads than we ever know till they are gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aw 🙂 and aw :’-). Poignantly, beautifully written and video’d. (Except I think I saw a “yodeling pickle”? I’m going to pretend I did no such thing.) 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Yernasia Quorelios says:

    💜 Parental Release is an Option EveryOne; http://www.ericberne.com


    Liked by 1 person

  12. My eyes got kinda red, too. :/
    (Loved the way your dad treated you and his oranges the same. 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Your dad would be SO proud of what you’ve accomplished and who you’ve become, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I love the video, very heartwarming. (I miss my dad terribly.)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. revruss1220 says:

    I also had a mixed relationship with my dad growing up. Little did any of us ever realize back then just how hard, beautiful, frustrating, glorious, and thankless the job of “parent” really is. Thanks for this reminder to dig in and mine the gold that is buried there in my childhood memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Smitha V says:

    This was beautiful Mitch. Reminded me of my relation with my dad- he was committed buy mom was ok with us being us. So many things here resonated with me. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. K.L. Hale says:

    What a beautiful and touching tribute, Mitch. The video was superb. Of us 3 girls in the house, 4 counting Mom, I was Dad’s “boy”. He’s tough. And quiet. Yet he had a temper when I was younger. From a Hall of Fame Inductee in MO (fast pitch softball) to my school superintendent to my miracle man. I know how blessed I am that he is still here. And I don’t take it for granted. 💛🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ann Coleman says:

    Loved this! Fathers don’t have to be perfect to be good dads, or to teach us what we need to know about life. My dad wasn’t perfect. He also had a temper (probably stemming from depression, which he constantly battled) and sometimes our relationship wasn’t good. But you know what? I’m still so grateful that he was my dad, and he taught me so much that I needed to know, and had a huge hand in creating who I am today. I still thank God, quite literally, that he was my dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Boys and their dads. Girls and their dads. Mine was a stoic Norwegian descendent who couldn’t be emotionally available, but in every other way, he showed his love by helping me become the best person I could be. Fishing with me, sitting with me while I “practiced” piano, introducing me to symphonies and Shakespeare (!) at a young age – both of which I still do- repainting an old boat, taking me out at night at the lake to show me the Northern lights. And teaching me how to laugh at myself and think for myself and know how to love others. Priceless! Thank you so much, Mitch, for sharing your dad with us! Priceless!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. mitchteemley says:

    My dad had that stoic side too, so I understand, Martha. It takes a long time to realize how much they actually loved us, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A chip of his shoulder?😊

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: On Being a Real-Life Dad | Mitch Teemley

  23. Matilda Novak says:


    Liked by 1 person

  24. This is great! “I realized that everything I’d given to him already belonged to him.” Kinda like us and God, huh?
    Nice allegory and great video.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jorge Medico says:

    The best compliment any dad could get.

    Liked by 1 person

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