Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - The Greatest Man I Know

There is a poem out there entitled "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. The premise of the poem is that each tombstone has a dash between the birth date and death date. That dash is the great opportunity for each of us, for that dash represents our life's body of work. Just think about that for a moment. The sum of that dash is the most important marker of one's embodiment of life.

Today is a day of celebration on many levels. For some it is Fat Tuesday. For others it is simply another February 24th. For me, it is the birthday of The Greatest Man I Know. My Father.

My father has many nicknames: Big-R, R, Papa, "Rick" and Pops. All loving and endearing in their own way when coming from his wife, us kids and our spouses, and most dear to his heart his beloved 14 beautiful grandchildren whom of course, all lovingly call him Papa.

My father has many loves. He loves his tranquility time on the river with a fly rod in his hand. Who can blame him? Being within the hands of Mother Nature provides some of the most cathartic of life's moments.

He also loves his bike. He is an Ironman finisher and an avid cyclist to this day. Damn near lost him a few years back after a clueless cell phone distracted mascara wielding driver plowed into him at 50mph in her Lexus. (He's ok, thank God!) He has a deep love for the arts. He has a passion for the four handlebar-mustached white men in straw hats and striped vests singing "Sweet Adeline" in four-part harmony. Yep, Barbershop Quartets. Music of almost any type he loves. (I used to love his quirky jerky jig he did as he would give me grief during my much misguided rap music days). Oh, the visual memory makes me laugh! The thing is, I think he really liked it; he just couldn't speak that fast and/or rhyme?
Seriously, he can play about 4 instruments and he really does have a truly amazing voice. His involvement in the singing rounds him out as a true Renaissance man.

These are just some of the elements that he is working in HIS dash. He has imparted on me his type A personality which I know my mother and my wife have found to be most annoying, but a good trait, nonetheless. His mind works on overdrive 24/7. He will leave the house and not 20 seconds later think of something and call the house to impart this thought, request or wisdom on whomever will answer the phone. He will say we are leaving for vacation at 8am and in his head that really means 7am. Unless you are wired like he is, you don't get it. You are better off just going with it, because it will not change.
He always comes from a good place. No matter how busy he makes his life, and he does that like a pro. If he is not doing something, then something is wrong. I have often wondered if this comes from his mom, my grandmother who was a believer as she so eloquently used to put it: "to sit around and do nothing is to be as worthless as two tits on a bull." The coolest thing though, is no matter how many PVC creations he is inventing, teeth he is drilling, boards on which he is serving or groups he is in belting out his heart felt vocals, he will always make time for you. He made a point to never miss one of his kids' games, meets, performances, you name it. When I attended Virginia Tech and played football he made every effort to not miss a game. There is an old phrase that says: "Love to a child is spelled T-I-M-E." It is TIME that he has always tried to give each of us as well as that huge heart of his.

I don't get back to my home town of Sandy, Utah as often as I would like. But when I do, I always run into old friends or acquaintances who inevitably ask how my parents are doing. Or when I speak from afar to people who know my father I hear a very similar message.

"Tony, your father is one of the greatest guys I know. He is just a good guy. He sure loves you and your family."

These many people are right. My father is one of the greatest guys. He is a kind, loving and thoughtful person who "gets" life. He would give you the shirt off his back if you were cold. I can not tell you the countless ways he has reached out and lifted someone up when he/she has been down and asked nothing in return. Sometimes even getting wronged himself in the effort, but holding to his standard and moving forward. Having learned a lesson but not allowing the wronging to stop his determination to try to help and love his family and people in general.

He and I have a standing phone call each Friday morning. I cherish those talks. They are my time with him, a time to laugh, a time to strategize, a time to share and a time to learn. All of this time is part of the ongoing creation of the dash of the man I love and consider to be the Greatest Man I Know.


Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.


Halftime Lessons said...

Great tribute, T...such a great relationship you have with him. I dont know about you, but my ultimate goal is to have my kids feel roughly the same way about me.

But Im not holding my breath. ;-)

Julie said...

What a great tribute and a wonderful man. Good point on the dash...never really thought about it.

Happy Birthday Pops!!

Cajoh said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Pops. I think we all aspire to be as wonderful fathers as our own.

Carrin said...

sounds like some men could take lessons from your Pops!

Unknown said...

Wow-- your dad sounds like a wonderful guy. :) And like he would get along with MY dad, who is an intense bicyclist, too! His weakness is Mannheim Steamroller, though, not barbershop quartets. ;) That was a really touching tribute to your Pops. I hope my boys have that kind of respect and love for Daddy-007 when they are men.

p.s. We have our cruising schedule set up and my hubby officially went on vacation in his mind today. :)))

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

What a wonderful tribute to your amazing Dad. He truly is a special person and I am fortunate to have him involved in my life. Big “R-Endo” is just quite simply the best!

Over the years we have had so much fun at our monthly Chronie’s luncheon. We all laugh until our sides ache and so enjoy the friendship within our group.

Your Dad once told me not a single day goes by that he does not think about his Mother. That alone speaks volumes about him.

Kindest regards, Kent - Owner Training Table Restaurants

The Frugal Angel-Guided Psychic said...

Wow! What a wonderful tribute!

Feb, 24th is my Dad's Birthday too. How nice for yours that he has a child that can write so well :)

You both must mean the world to each other... or the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so to speak!

So nice to hear of this type of relationship between father and son, thanks for sharing it.

Geri said...

you should find a job writing...you do it soooo well!!!

Anonymous said...

What a tribute T, Oh my gosh, I miss my dad, Irv, he was by far my best friend and though he passed away almost 20 years ago I think of him every day. I think of no matter what his mood, how his day was going... when I would walk in the door, and he would approach me, his smile would light up the room with warmth and true joy.... He was a commercial pilot, very well traveled and though gone for must of my childhood, when home I was his world and he mine !!! Thanks so much for bringing him into my thoughts this evening .. IRV, DAD, POP

Irishlass said...

That last Anonymous was me T, Kevi, I am new to blogging so I haven't caught on yet.. Lol