My dad will be 87 years old this year. In 13 years, he will be 100.
He stands around five feet and five inches to seven inches tall, and has a waist size that most women would sell their Vera Bradleys for, and most men would give up their man cards just to have his beard or his old truck.
it is not something he worries about – he eats right, says his prayers and his exercise comes from years of honest, hard work – that included a lot of roof climbing, a lot of crawling under houses and a lot of walking.
Today, though retired as a plumber, electrician, HVAC man and just general ‘Mr. Fix-It,’ my dad still spends a lot of time ‘piddling’ or doing ‘rat-killing’ things that most men my age and younger wouldn’t or couldn’t do without the help of another or their cell phone.
That is just who he is. A family ‘joke’ is that the television show, MacGyver, was based on my dad’s life – he is the real deal.
Father’s Day 2020 will be the 50th Father’s Day that he has been mine. From what I have been told, had my mom’s doctor not made back to the hospital in Linden, Texas, my dad and a nurse were set to deliver me.
He will have to tell you that story – he does it so much better than me. My mom was not prepared or dilated to give birth, and the doc thought he had time to run home for a bit.
Dad explained to him that mom was a fast deliverer, and told the nurse that too. There were not cell phones back in those days in Cass County (or anywhere), so there was no way for them to call him back until he got home. Dad was prepared.
But luckily, the doctor showed back up, and I arrived with a head full of dark hair, 10 fingers and 10 toes, and a tooth. I was his fourth child – third by DNA.
I guess the first day he and I met (my birthday) set the tone for our relationship.
We have had the typical father-daughter stuff, typical ups and downs, typical disappointments, arguments and discipline, typical jokes, typical laughs. typical hard conversations, and a lot of philosophizing. There have been times when he didn’t understand me or I him (and probably still are such days).
From the start, my dad taught me how to be independent and resourceful. He may not think so – as I am usually fumble fingers when i am around him, even today – but he did teach me that, and I have handled many things, and fixed things too.
I may not have been able to change a tire or mop a floor without leaving streaks, but when everyday life challenged me – challenges me – it may take a minute, and it might even overpower me for a minute – but it would be only a minute.
See, that’s when the ‘James Holland’ genes kick in, and I lift my head up, and barrel through whatever is ahead – finding my own way to ‘MacGyver’ through them.
And it worked (works) 97 percent of the time.
My dad has never told us how to live … oh, he had opinions and suggestions. My dad has lived and let us see how to do it … for that I am ever appreciative.
Dad has always been about education – about keeping our brains active. That is why today, at almost 87 years of age, he is not like most stereo-typical people his age.
My dad has done things and has a long laundry list of accomplishments under his belt -but you won’t hear him brag. (Back in the 70s, Dad developed a computer, and showed it off at a convention where a young Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were just starting out.) (My dad has a few patents.)
He may not have the college degrees that his kids have, but he has something that not a one of us has that makes him smarter than anyone of us, and probably most of you reading this.
“It” is something that a bachelor, a master and a doctorate degree or any years as a journalist, in medicine or as an artist couldn’t touch. It goes beyond book learning and job experience, and even beyond the overflowing supply of common sense, cognitive abilities and life wisdom he has.
To figure out what “it” is that he has -that makes him so smart – spend an hour with him on the front porch or watch him work in his shop. (But put aside ‘self’ and ‘time’ and ‘oh, he is just an old man’ otherwise, you wont see ‘it.’)
My dad worked a lot when all of us were growing up. A lot of times, Mom handled everything. Some weeks, he worked seven days straight. He provided for all of our needs.
He didn’t coach little league. He was not the dad who went to daddy-daughter dances (but I don’t think we had them back then.) He was not a hugger. He didn’t say ‘Good Job’ or ‘I love you’ or ‘I am proud of you’ a lot.
I realized something this week. He may not have always ‘held my hand’ or my siblings’ hands or been happy with me or my siblings all the time, but he has never not had our backs- even five states away. (Even when we were too stubborn to realize it.)
That’s what you call real love – unconditional love.
My dad is no Superman, but he has always been my hero.
I love you, Daddy. Happy Father’s Day.
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