I Knew I Had A Pretty Good Father But … Happy Father’s Day
I’m the youngest grandchild of a great man. I always got the impression my father had a tough act to follow, but I think he did more than just fine.
We brothers made fun of Dad for things he was not, but of all of “Grampa’s” sons, our Dad got the most genuis genes. He knew I just wanted to grow up to be a sports hero, but when he taught me how to do some arithmetic short cuts in my head, I thought that was pretty cool. He’d back off that after the time he tried explain algebra and I said, “Dad, c’mon, I’m in 4th grade.”
He was an engineering nerd who new nothing about sports. Well, he knew SOMEthing about EVERYthing, but one day he pulled in right when a stray football rolled right up to him. When he reached to pick it up, I thought, “Oh, I gotta see this.” We were horrified. He couldn’t throw even an ugly spiral. My brother and I shook our heads laughing at how his knuckleball said it all.
Either way, he was always rooting for me and told me when he was proud. I wish that could have been more often about the kind of grades he preferred. There were a few times he wasn’t so proud, but that was when he still made sure to tell me he loved me.
When I did get to algebra in high school, I did okay until variables were on both sides of the equal sign. I think he was fine with that, and even glad I was starting to live life for myself – just bitten by a bug called radio. I’d make use of the voice he gave me. None of us knew then he would be gone soon.
We still smile quoting Dadisms at their appropriate times. As a driver he was never overly cautious. God watched over us because Dad never got us into a crash, though sometimes he scared Mom to death. She’d yell, “Ted LeTourneau, if you don’t get us all killed I’LL kill you, myself!”
The older I get the more I love about Dad’s beliefs. He got them from his own parents. I was already 10 before our family had what I still say was our best year ever. Dad was determined that for one whole year, we’d all sit down at the breakfast table every morning while he read a piece of “The-Bible-in-a-Year.” The Old Testament stories were better than in Sunday School because we got each story word for word and in order.
For one Sunday evening service, Dad wanted to be there early to explain a few things to the Pastor about the shop building he donated to the church. I went along, and since no one else was there yet, I could overhear their conversation from a ways away. The Pastor said he wanted to get Dad a plaque on the wall for his generosity, but Dad was having none of it, saying, “That would defeat my whole purpose for doing it.” I think he made sure that was loud enough for his 12-year-old to hear. I was just old enough to know it was a teaching moment, for “storing up treasure in Heaven.” At that moment I was a Son who was proud of his Father. It wasn’t the only time I knew about his generosity – and I’m sure there were other times I did not know.
Me and my brothers used to think our Dad was lazy for how he came straight home from work to eat, and then watch tv for the rest of the night. As adults, however, we’d be thankful we could always count on that. He came straight home.
Dad never went straight to happy hour because he didn’t drink at all. Ironically he was diagnosed with cirossis of the liver and would be gone within a year, when I was just starting my adult life, but he already gave me a good start. He gave me everything I ever needed.
Every Father’s Day I thank my Heavenly Father for My Dad. I know I will see him again.