I’ve been looking forward to tonight all day. It’s shop night. I’ve got a project to begin, I have all of the necessary tools and pieces, and my workshop is finally in working order.
After putting the kids to bed I went through my mental checklist, making sure to cover all of the necessities that would make the time successful. I got my gun-metal space heater started early to warm the garage, put on a comfortable flannel shirt, readied my leather moccasins, and started going through my old country music library in my head to pick the perfect soundtrack for my work.
Just about the time I went to put on my moccasins I realized something big. At this moment I am my father. This left me staggered, but then I willingly accepted it with a grin.
The times dad actually got to spend on himself in his garage workshop were few and far between when I was growing up, but that was what he did to relax. There wasn't always a project to complete, I saw him organizing hardware and miscellaneous bolts more often than not, but his workbench was a place he could relax. His gun-metal space heater was always on, old country music quietly set the mood, and he always wore his flannel and leather moccasins.
The similarities in our shop environments got me thinking even more about all I’ve learned from him, and just how much I aim to be like him. He’s all of the best things a man should be, and he’s always tried to pass his wisdom to me as I age.
For anyone who doesn’t know my dad, here’s a quick synopsis: he’s humble, funny, wise and sentimental, he’s an incredibly hard worker, a devoted family man, a people lover, an experienced outdoorsman, a lover of God, and he spent 28 years serving our country in the United States Air Force.
I didn’t call or text my dad today to thank him for his service to our country as I do every year on Veteran’s Day. I didn’t even post my favorite photo of him in his uniform, handsome as he is, on Facebook. But I did send him the following message:
“Thanks for being my dad and my mentor. You’re a great friend and example, and I’m grateful for your leadership. I love you!”
I’m incredibly proud of my father’s service to our country. He spent countless days, weeks, and months away from his family while serving, and I have no doubt that his work saved the lives of many men and women who served along side him in the missile fields across our country.
I’d bet there are some of you reading this who know Bill, but never even knew he was a career military man. He’s proud to have served, but he rarely talks about it. It’s just not what defines him. I’ve never understood that until today. There are so many things about him that I admire and respect. I just hope I’ve learned more from him than the importance of a quality space heater and a good pair of moccasins when working in the garage.
Dad, thank you for everything.
**This post is not intended to lessen the incredible outpouring of praise for our servicemen and women over the last 24 hours. I just want to highlight my dad. He's a great dude.