Sunday, June 20, 2004

Happy Father's Day

My Dad and I at Graceland, thankyouverymuch...I know one of the cardinal rules of blogging is to not tell your parents to read your blog, but when I started this I was young and innocent... well, maybe just dumb. But one of my ten loyal readers has remained my dad. And so, since its Father's Day its only fitting that I write a post in his honor (besides, my birthday is in less than a month, and this might make for a good buttering up).

One of my earliest memories of my dad is him getting down on one knee, making him eye level with me, to tie my shoe when he came to attend a school function at St. Charles Elementary in Toledo, Ohio. I think I was in first grade for the second time, and the day was an annual "carnival and white elephant sale" they held in the basement/cafeteria. While I think my class was only down for thirty minutes, I remember being the only kid who's dad came to visit, and I was even more excited because he originally wasn't sure if he'd be able to come, since he was working at the fire department. Small stuff, a tiny memory, but a good one none the less. I may have actually been more impressed at the time that he knew how to tie a shoe, because that was something I could never figure out.

James Eugene MarklandMy favorite vacation ever was spent a couple years ago with him as we drove for ten days from Toledo, down through the south, and back again, while researching the Sultana disaster. Along the way I realized how similar we were, in no small part to the fact that I've often subconciously tried to be more like him as I've grown up... even though we lived states apart for most of my life.

One of the biggest similarities is our dilettantishness... in all the good senses of the word. I think we both buy far many more books than we end up reading, and we're both self taught computer geeks... although he's into Macs... sigh, perhaps he'll come around.

I still aspire to be as great a storyteller as he is, and maybe this blogging is my practice.

Among the things I like to boast about my dad is that he retired as a Captain with the Toledo Fire Department, and was a paramedic also. He's a "born again" Roman Catholic but still enjoys dirty jokes. He's an expert with defribulators... or at least pronouncing the word. He's a damn fine photographer (as long as you're not watching his slide shows). And he's got one of the kindest hearts you'll ever find... most importantly, to me anyway, is that he's always been the most optimistic person I have ever met. (I think he's one of those guys who takes the 'ol crocheted wisdom to heart, "I aspire to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am")

And finally, I'll break another cardinal sin, and profess that I love and am proud of my dad, with or without the ponytail (did I fail to mention he has a pony tail? yep, he has the balls to wear a pony tail).

Happy Father's Day, Dad!