Oh, but on this day I am hearing the advice he gave Peter Boy and me throughout our childhood. I am hearing my father sing, "We are the Sherburne girls. We wear our hair in curls," and the screams at Casey, "Your mouth runs like a whippoorwill's ass." I am laughing at the time he took Abu and Lossine fishing for the first time and the days when he'd get kicked off the Little League fields for arguing with the umps. I am channeling the lawn mowing, the snow blowing, the taking out the garbage, and the "Bryan, Can you give me a hand with this?" where I'd stand for hours holding a screw wondering what it was I was actually helping him with.
There's the Clam Bar and the days when he used to take us to the Bowling Alley with him on Thursday nights. There's driving lessons and his greeting of a Budweiser over the garbage cans as soon as I got home. There's digging for night crawlers and sitting around his fire pit out back. There's underwater 'hold your breath' lap challenges, green beans from his garden served in hot buttermilk, and the constant offer of venison steaks or jerky. There's the wearing of his sweats whenever I run on my visits and the accidents of taking his favorite hats, ear warmers, and gloves. Of course there's the, "What are you going to forget this time?"
I remember March Madness in Kentucky when we were wearing our Orange gear (not welcome) and the sharing of responsibilities when helping my grandparents at Loch Lebanon. There's the field band shows, the color guard shows, and the years of learning his mischief as a child. There's Dusty, Tizzy, and Smoker (and I always loved the stories about Ginger and am so appreciative for all you did for Baby, too).
When I was running yesterday, I was thinking of my pops and also remembering my Grandpa Ken. I think it's because the sudden turn-around in my own house, but I've suddenly come to the revelation of how important a father really is. I mean, it's really important. I now realize that 99.9% of the fatherly advice doesn't really make sense until you've set out to guide another human being yourself. It is then that everything comes full circle and it all begins to make sense.
I am so appreciative of everything my dad has done for me, and I wouldn't be the man I am today without him. Everything in my world is because of his investment in me, and I am thankful.
I am a Son of a Butch, and nothing could make me prouder.
I love you, Dad. I hope your day is spectacular. Take yourself to Chubby's and raise a Labatt's Blue to the Great Whatever in celebration of all you've created: three kids, a foundation on Amalfi Drive, and all the love that we've shared with one another for over 40 years.
And with that, let the theme to MASH bring you a day of your best memories.