blessed

It’s Father’s Day. We all have the world’s best father, don’t we? Except those who don’t. Or those who have lost their dads. Or those who never knew them to begin with.

Life isn’t fair.

That’s one thing my mother taught me as a child: Life isn’t fair, so stop expecting it to be. She was right. I met a young man recently who broke my heart. A “thug” on the outside, he quickly showed that he’d had an unstable childhood at best. He had no support system, and as an adult, he was hurting.

How much of who we are is who we are, and how much of it is where we came from?

Me, though—I was blessed. I have two amazing parents. My dad is and always has been my best friend. He knows me better than anyone. We think alike, and he’s always been there for me with open ears and ready arms—no matter the hour, no matter how tired, no matter what he himself is going through. He’s the most giving person I’ve ever met—giving to a fault, in fact. (Dad, you need to take care of YOU!!)

But I love him for it and know he will always put others first, no matter what I or my brother say. We’re a trio, really. My brother is amazing, too—why don’t we have a Sibling’s Day, by the way?—and this is perhaps the hardest part about being so far from home. I miss being surrounded by people who know me and love me just as I am. I wish I could be closer to watch my nephew grow. But, alas, I have to follow my own path, and my path has taken me to Tennessee.

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Today I want to share with you an event from this past week, which actually started earlier (the “backstory” from my last post), and which I couldn’t have done without my dad, who has encouraged me every step of my non-traditional way.

Back in March I wrote a post about attending my first “Poetry Slam.” The “Slam” meets once a month, and last month I got brave and recited a couple of my old poems. It was nerve-wracking, but afterward a guy reached out to me and said he and his friends had really liked my work. He invited me to a game night, which I later attended, and in a span of about five weeks my social circle in Knoxville has nearly doubled.  Thanks to my new friend I now have numerous contacts to do crazy things with like hike, rock climb, sky dive, and more. And even cooler? I no longer have to attend Poetry Slams alone! This is a video my friends took of me at this month’s Slam. Some of you may recognize my work.

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All of this to say, NONE of this would have been possible without my dad. He’s been there for me through thick and thin and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He’s supported me through every life transition and trusted that I was making the right decisions. He’s visited me wherever I am and is always been just a phone call away. He’s my biggest supporter and number one fan, and is exactly the kind of parent I wish everyone had . . . What an amazing place this world would be if that were true!!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!

outshine the stars

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Riding the Berkeley Hills (Dad, me, and my brother)

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Today is Father’s Day. Well, was. It’s almost over now — 10:30 p.m. here on the West Side.

My dad and brother came to visit us today. We rode our bikes, chatted, got Thai food. Overall, it was a great day — except for my dad and brother who spent more than two hours driving in traffic . . .

But . . .

Hopefully, it was worth it. I made pound cake, which we ate after dinner. Jon had everyone laughing with his stories about growing up in Alabama. And I . . .

Remembered my poem from last Father’s Day, which I’ve decided to post again, here. I hope you don’t mind . . . I hope you enjoy . . .

Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

 

pool

Let’s dive! (My dad on the right as a little boy.)

Path to Immortality

We start out mere mortals,
’til “Father” turns son.
It’s then our potential
“forever” is won.

We live through our children,
and they on through theirs.
So what will we show them?
How say, “Daddy cares”?

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Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Two kids in a tub.

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It’s here I’m no expert,
but look to the best.
My father’s my hero—
he far passed the rest!

With love and compassion,
through fire and through ice,
he gave with devotion,
and never thought twice:

My dad as a baby with his dad

My dad as a baby with his dad

He did what he had to,
and then he did more.
No matter the duty,
’twas never a chore.

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“Da-ddy. Da-ddy. A spider!” my plea.

From start until finish,
from dawn until dusk,
pushed past human limits,
he still wasn’t brusque . . .

But rather was patient,
and kind without end.
All people who knew him,
his worth did commend.

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“Lo-vely. Lucky!” they always told me.

Swimming in Lake Tahoe when I was a kid

Swimming in Lake Tahoe when I was a kid

But of my dad’s story,
they only knew half.
I wasn’t just lucky:
My dad’s off the graph!

For me and my brother,
he’s always been there.
‘Twas never a question:
“Does our daddy care?”

Love you. Love you. I know that it’s true.

From cycling, to skiing,
to talking in depth,
my father has shaped me,
and that is a breadth!

So Daddy, I thank you,
for all that you are.
You’re no longer mortal:
You outshine the stars.

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photo 3-1

Jon, me, and Derek

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photo 1-1

Sour cream pound cake — my dad and brother’s favorite. :)

path to immortality — a father’s day tribute

babydad

My dad with his dad, 1956.

We start out mere mortals,
’til “Father” turns son.
It’s then our potential
“forever” is won.

We live through our children,
and they on through theirs.
So what will we show them?
How say, “Daddy cares”?

..

pool

Dad’s love for the water started early. (Dad, right, with his brother Verlin in their backyard in Riverside, late 1950s.)

Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Two kids in a tub.

..

It’s here I’m no expert,
but look to the best.
And he to his own dad—
they both passed the test!

With love and compassion,
through fire and through ice,
they gave with devotion,
and never thought twice: Continue reading

finding good in bad

Funerals—especially ones that involve flying across the country and back in a span of less than 72 hours—aren’t usually much fun. My grandfather’s was no exception. There were tears and formalities. Grandpa Joe was a Korean War vet. A United States flag laying atop his casket was folded and handed to my nana. She was sobbing.

I was crying, too.

A bugler played Taps. Outside, it began to pour.

So it goes.

But good things can come out of not-so-fun situations, too. Like the tales of Grandpa Joe’s lighter side that we heard from some of his tow-truck buddies after the service. Also, the letters I discovered later that night at my nana’s house. Apparently, my grandpa was quite the jokester.

Take, for example, the way he addressed this birthday card to my nana:

letter

To: Mrs. Doris L. Wilson
Any place she is at
On her day

lettercorner

From: The one that loves her
But don’t understand her
And lives at the same place
Where the card came from

There was a Fathers’ Day card, too, from my nana to my Grandpa Joe. In it, she had scratched out text and replaced it with some of her own:

For my Hubby

A Fathers’ Day note about the finer things of life:

I can do without sports cars cranes

and fancy clothes tow trucks,

original sculptures tow motors,

and opening-night shows drivers’ dispatchers,

I don’t need ritzy clubs flat trucks,

antiques pickups,

mansions junk cars,

or yachts affidavits.

There’s just one thing I need, and I need lots of it—

You (and your love!)

Happy Father’s Day,

Dorie

It’s not surprising, honestly, that such silliness could come from or be married to a face like this:

Grandpa Joe

Grandpa Joe in the 8th grade

It was also good to see Grandpa Joe’s old stomping grounds.

gateedit

The old tow yard.

barn

Shed where Grandpa Joe used to like to play tricks.

photo 4

Tow yard with scrap cars.

truck

One of Grandpa Joe’s trucks.

And to see pictures like this one of my grandpa in action:

grandpajoeontruck2

Grandpa Joe working on his crane.

So, you see, good things can come from bad situations. It all depends on what you’re looking for and how you’re looking for it. Will you focus on the negative, or will you seek the possible good angles of rotten situations, too? Grandpa Joe may never come back, but his memory will live on with those who loved him for forever.

We love you, Grandpa Joe!

P.S. A big thank you to my brother, Derek, for playing photographer with his iPhone for me on this trip. I forgot my camera!

For an interesting history lesson on the origin of Taps, check out this video. Pretty cool!