My father, for whom I was named, passed away Wednesday night at the age of 67, just in time to not be bothered with the Obamacare decision. He had been fighting cancer and other ailments for quite some time — many of them related to Agent Orange exposure, so perhaps in a way he was a very late Vietnam War casualty.
My father was the single greatest influence on my sense of humor — even more so than the first ten seasons of The Simpsons. He always teased us kids, and that was his way of showing he loved us. Not that I knew it early on when I would say, “I’m hungry,” and he’d respond with, “Nice to meet you hungry.” I remember when I first successfully teased him back. I was helping with a Boy Scout roadside clean up and he mentioned to me how he had once been to a think tank, and without missing a beat I responded, “What were you doing there? Were you lost?” I could tell he was very proud.
I’m so glad my wife and I ended up in Boise back in 2007 so we could spend more time with him and my mom. I could tell he loved my wife SarahK very much as he was always saying mean things to her, even to his last days. And we’re so thankful God blessed us with little Buttercup, a little ray of sunshine for him and my mom during troubled times. She liked to sit on her papa’s lap and color. She wasn’t old enough for my dad to tease her, so that will be up to me.
Father’s Day this year was pretty hard on me, as I knew there wasn’t much time left, and looking at my father I feel like so far I’m only play acting a dad to little Buttercup. Throughout my childhood, I always felt loved and secure because my father was there, and I feel like I still have a lot of growing up to do to be that for Buttercup. I had a childhood that was about as close as you can have to one of those Norman Rockwell paintings because he and my mom always worked hard to do the best for us kids, and it’s a lot to live up to. I know I should feel sad now that my father has passed, but I just feel so glad to have had such a great dad for as long as I did.
There’s just a little bit of my dad here on my blog. A long while back, I collected military stories from people and got a couple from him. And if you look around, there are some blog comments out there from “Mean Old Man.” Goodbye, dad. And now I’m just looking forward until the day that Buttercup first tells me she’s hungry.