Suggestion: Read post below before watching video!
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.