When I was a kid we weren't all that far removed from the ideal of Leave It To Beaver, where the dad went to work and the mom stayed home to raise the kids and clean the house.
Well, it was the 70s. Things were changing. Protesting was becoming an artform and there were still only three networks. HBO was a pretty new thing and I recall we had it before we eschewed city life and moved to a family-owned parcel of land out in the country where my Dad built a dreamhouse.
I've told you that before. I think what I haven't said is that my Dad is my inspiration and my hero. He worked to make sure that Mom didn't have to, so that she'd be home when my brother and I got off the bus after school. He influenced me with his dedication to work and his single-mindedness that nothing will get in the way of what he wants.
He was also a helluva lot of fun. One Halloween before we moved out of town, he painted himself and sat under a blacklight while the Disney Haunted House LP played over the sound system. The front door of the house was wide open and the candy was right next to him. All the kids had to do was walk in about six feet and grab a fistful of sweets and off they'd go.
"Come on in," Dad would say in a creepy, almost Boris Karloff kind of voice. It was friendly, inviting, but the combination of his outre appearance and the ultra-creepy sounds of the LP were frightening to the vast majority of the trick-or-treaters that year. Dad had a great time. (For more about the LP and to hear a couple of samples, click here. If you scroll down, you'll also find that it's now available on iTunes, which makes me VERY happy. But I digress...)
Dad was the coolest guy around back then. There was a period where I knew more than he did, when I didn't need his advice, or even his approval. I look back on that period and realize I was pretty stupid about a lot of things. If I'd just opened my ears, I might've saved myself some troubles.
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there, but especially to mine.
Believe it or not, Dad, I did hear you all those times. I'm trying to apply the lessons you taught me to how I approach being a Dad. I can't thank you enough for all you did for me. I hope you have a great day and I'll see you for lunch.