Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Father Knows Best

I was looking through my old posts and realized I have rarely, if ever, mentioned my Dad. Strange, considering that if you checked his resume, I'm pretty sure the first job mentioned would be "Supreme SuperHero and All Knowing Swami To MzMannerz".

My Dad is the guy who could come up with the most magical answers. When a teensy MzMannerz asked him where heaven was (he was a Deacon at church; I figured he would know), he answered immediately: "Beyond the first star."

He made road trips special. We'd take the New Jersey Turnpike to 95 South (or something like that) to visit family in Maryland or North Carolina. I was always interested in what happened to the highway beyond the exits we took. Did it go on forever? If there was an end, could we go there one day? My father promised me a one day trip 'to the end of the highway' and I would daydream about a huge brick wall where everyone turned around and went back in the other direction. Of course, I eventually found out that highways don't really end, they just merge into other roads, and it wasn't worth driving to Florida just to witness 95 doing that, but still. I'm so glad he gave the answer which prompted the daydreams.

My father went from Deacon to Reverend when I was fourteen. I still remember his first sermon clearly - at 6'4, he towered over the podium. He went on to become the preacher in our church who held everyone's attention with his subject matter - once cracking open and beating a real raw egg to illustrate a point about becoming something even better after being broken. The week after Tiger Woods won the Master's title for the first time, he discussed living and negotiating the front and back nines of life. My Dad is clever, devout and well suited to the salesman's job of convincing people to recognize God.

It seems so long ago that he got really sick and ended up on dialysis, eventually receiving a kidney transplant. That was a turning point for all of us. My father, tall, robust, handsome, went a little gray around the edges. I think I finally realized how much of an adult I was when I could clearly see the physical tell tale signs of the twenty six years that lay between us. I remember leaning down and whispering in his ear, "Ten more years, please. That's all I'm asking."

That was six years ago. He's doing well; it looks like he's going to give me more than ten years. I'm not surprised, because this is a man who always went above and beyond to provide for us.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. If you're even half the guy my Dad is, you are one hell of a man.

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