He had me too young and raised me when he was still too reckless. He drove fast, rode fast, worked to make everything he owned fast or faster. I watched as he and Dale pulled motors, replaced brakes, sanded fenders. I knew a world of bondo, and Lava soap, and electric sanders before I could even see over the steering wheel.
I played on my swing set as the sound of mechanics chimed in the garage, set to a soundtrack of old country music, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. Those things linger with me. There were a million other little things that seeped from his hands, from his mind, from his mouth, that defined who I would be. I left his house with a firm grasp on the person that I was, grounded, abundant with morals, and heavy with expectation. But he made it clear to me the expectations were my own, his door would always be open for me, left ajar should I need to come home.
He took me to college, toured a new land, and left me there to thrive. He probably hated the liberal young woman I was becoming, but he never said so. He let me live, marry, move, and still come home when I need to. He is quiet when disapproval sets in, observes closely when he’s curious, and works constantly. He loves our mom, adores his kids, and has worked a lifetime to give us everything he has ever had.
Here’s to you Daddy, Happy Birthday we love you!