Friday, June 13, 2014

EDITORIAL >> Open letter to my dad

Father’s Day is just around the corner and I’d like to send this open letter to my dad and to all the dads who have experienced the ups and downs and highs and lows of parenting. No roller coaster can compare.

Dear Dad,

It’s been a long time since I’ve written you. In fact, I can’t remember the last letter I wrote you (e-mail is partially to blame).

Anyway, I’m finally writing a letter to you and an important one.

It’s not because Sunday’s Father’s Day or that I feel guilty. It’s simply because I love you and need to tell you that. I’ve been reminiscing lately about all the good things you did for me while I was growing up.

Remember the hardest spanking you ever gave me? I sure do!

I was about 8 years old and, boy, did I deserve it. I ran across the street without looking both ways and came close to getting hit by a car.

Well, let me tell you, Dad, I sure learned my lesson. Nowadays, I even look both ways before crossing the letter “t.”

How about the time back when you helped me win the kite-flying contest?

You were busy doing something when I suddenly ran out of kite string and just let the kite float nearly out of sight. By the time the judges had given me the blue ribbon for the highest flying kite, you had already jumped three fences, avoided two barking dogs, sprained your ankle and ran nearly a mile chasing that kite down.

Knowing me, I gloated over winning and never told you thanks. To top things off, after all that trouble you went through to retrieve my kite, I let a tree eat it the very next day.

Dad, I’m also grateful for all the things you taught me about nature, especially during our fishing and camping trips.

Remember the time we spent nearly all day in the hot sun without catching a single thing? Then, whoosh, out of the clear blue sky, I hooked your favorite fishing cap right off your head and cast it right into the middle of the lake. I’m sure some catfish is still proudly wearing it. There was also that time you got a concussion showing me how dangerous it was to use a metal sign as a snow sled and that time you burned off all your chest hairs showing me why gasoline shouldn’t be used to light a fire.

Then, every time I wanted to join something, you happily joined it, too. Like Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Indian Guides, Little League and record clubs. You did it so we could continue to be close.

But, somewhere along the line, we drifted apart, or more correctly, I drifted — you’ve always been a bedrock. It seems that I had the same crazy philosophy most teenage boys get – that we know everything and it caused me to rebel. I’ve been away way too long.

With this letter, I’d like to close that gap I caused by saying Happy Father’s Day and I love you.

And one more thing: I hope that I’m at least half the father to my kids as you have been to me and my brothers. (Although I don’t plan on repeating that gasoline experiment.)

Regardless of who boxer Muhammad Ali thinks is the greatest — you are!


Your Son

To every son and daughter, this Sunday shouldn’t be the only day you tell dad thanks. Show him every day by doing right, living life to the fullest and telling something embarrassing about it at every family reunion. —Rick Kron