If a father is worth more than a hundred schoolteachers, as the quote by George Herbert goes, then a good father is surely worth more than a thousand.
I have such a father.
That pic you're seeing to the right is Dad and his Chevelle, circa 1977. Isn't she a thing of beauty?
But my Dad isn't just an awesome teacher, he's the definition of what a man is.
One of the best moments in my life came at a funeral. Crazy, but true.
I had just gotten out of my car and saw a group of men, (none of which I recognized), talking with one another. One looked at me and did one of those blink several times that people do when trying to recall your face in their memory. Then, he kinda smirked and said, "You Galvin's boy?"
"Yessir," said I.
The stranger nodded. "Yeah, I thought so. First time I ever saw your dad was when we played football together at the company picnic."
"Is that right?"
"Yep. He strolled onto that field with the same (expletive)-eating grin and cocky walk you got."
I smiled back. "It's not cocky if you can back it up."
You can imagine the laugh that received from the group, even the guy who started everything.
I'll never forget that day. Not just because I think many sons secretly hope they are compared to their fathers, but a more primal reason.
The buddy from work was testing me. He wanted to see what I would do, how I would respond.
That's what men do: test one another.
I did what Dad taught me. My reply earned me a place amongst them that day.
"You're right," said the buddy from work after he stopped laughing with the other guys. "Your dad ran me ragged all over the field that day. God, you look and act just like him, you know that?"
If Dad's buddy thought I was cocky before, I can't imagine what he said to the other guys after I left.
You can bet I walked even taller that day.
No matter where I go, I'm constantly reminded of lessons Dad has taught me over the years. Just the other day, I saw a sweet old car instantly ruined when I saw the custom license plate: BDMFKR.
I rolled my eyes, especially after I saw the idiot who jumped in. It reminded me of a guy I once knew in high school who constantly felt the need to profess himself a man.
Dad humbled him with the lesson a real man doesn't need to remind others that he is one. A man just is. Even then, Dad was teaching my friend what it means to be a man, just as he continues to teach me.
Many of my friends' parents are winding down in their careers, or in the very least looking to ease back on the throttle.
Not Dad. He received his Associate's Degree this past December, is currently studying for his Bachelor's, and just finished remodeling a 2nd home to sell. Did I mention he's done all of that while working his day job and learning new responsibilities in the management program?
Schyeah. Dude can outwork me on his worst day.
This is also the man who can fix anything.
Car isn't working? Dad co-owned a transmission shop with my uncle not many years ago. He'll have it working in a jiffy.
You're remodeling a house? Dad will have the plans on how the remodel should begin, problems you'll run into, oh, and he can tell you how much it will cost because he's had everything mapped out from the first time he walked in the house.
All that is man, your name is Dad.
Unfortunately, none of his skills have passed on to me.
Karen can tell you far more about makes/models of cars than I, while architectural skills and a mathematical mindset will forever elude me. Despite my lacking in those traditionally "man" categories, Dad has always preached there is more to being a man than recognizing a '67 Chevelle driving by, or building a cabinet from spare wood you have lying around.
A real man does whatever is needed of him and whenever. Whether that's washing dishes or changing diapers to working overtime on no sleep, a man does. So here's to the most important man I'll ever know and the one who shaped me into the man and father I am today. Love ya, Dad.
Author. Actor. Rascal.