• Regularly taking the family to Padre Island, the most beautiful beach I've ever seen
• Teaching me to swim
• Taking me on a fishing trip and protecting me when the outboard broke down and we had to be rescued
• Driving me to the skating rink every Wednesday evening for three summers
• Teaching me a couple of words in Dutch (though, sorry, I've forgotten them now)
• Very patiently teaching me to ride my bike without training wheels
• Giving me driving lessons in his old push-button Dodge
• Letting me help him plant a garden
• Explaining to me the function of every tool in his meticulously-kept toolbox
• Telling me, on the evening of my first junior high school dance, that I looked "beautiful"
• Allowing me to live with him and his new wife when my mother and her new husband asked me to move out
• Never, ever, yelling at me. And I know I gave him plenty of cause.
My dad never had a lot to say to me. I don't remember a single in-depth conversation with him, but I believe he did the best he could to be a loving father as he saw it. He didn't have a good role model. His own father, after bringing the family of eight over from Holland, seemed to regard his three boys as potential farm hands and resisted any efforts to make anything else of themselves. He never saw his Dutch grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles again after the age of six, so there were no other adult men to guide him. Under the circumstances, I think he did a pretty good job.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy.