1. BBQ is a religion to him. Seriously. He believes fervently in three things: oak pit bbq, the right brew to go with it, and the power of a good homemade bbq sauce.
2. He's not a fan of technology. At least that's what he says. But although he refuses to text or use the internet, I'm pretty sure he listens to XM Satellite radio non-stop and watches Dish network whenever he gets the chance.
3. We haven't always been close. There are a lot of lost years between my Dad and I. In fact, I've only begun to really know and appreciate him in the last four years or so. After he and my mom got divorced when I was in Junior High, I pretty much cut him off because I thought he was the "bad guy" in the situation. And because he didn't constantly plead with me to come and visit him, I thought he didn't care. I was so wrong. Those years that I didn't spend time with my Dad hurt him deeply. He regrets not being the "nagging" father and having a presence during my junior high and high school years. Years that saw the shaping of my character, where the loving encouragement of a dad would have been a huge help. I regret those years, too, and wish that I hadn't cut him off. But you know how divorces go...the kids always feel like they have to take sides, and I was no different. I chose my side. I wish I had possessed the insight to see that there really aren't any sides at all. But this whole experience has given me the opportunity to experience yet another of my dad's qualities:
4. My dad is loving and forgiving. He has a different way of showing it, but he definitely showers his love on the people who are important to him. You just have to know his love languages, which include (but are not limited to) BBQ, control of the TV remote, treating you to a meal out, hugs, TV time, and consistently bragging about you to his friends (which, of course, I have never heart firsthand, but have heard plenty about).
5. My dad is a fighter. He's lost a child, been through bankruptcy, seen two of his siblings die because of drug and alcohol addictions, grew up without a dad, been married and divorced twice, worked in the prison system for over 20 years, and struggled through diverticulitis, two herniated discs, and two knee replacements. But he's still going, still fighting. He still supports the people he cares about through all of their mistakes (although he might grumble while he's doing it). And he still puts on a crazy amazing Memorial Day BBQ every single year for whoever wants to come and eat. Yep, he's a fighter.
6. My dad has a limited wardrobe. He mainly wears denim shorts, flip flops and a tank top that he got in Cancun, Ensenada, or some kind of cruise. His favorites are shirts that have a message, like "5 reasons beer is better than women," "1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, FLOOR," or some other party-related colloqualism.
We've tried and tried to get him to wear "normal" shirts, but for some reason, he is unwavering in his determination to wear his "funny" shirts until they fall apart. It's ok, though, because the "funny" shirts are definitely a step up from the shiny spandex shorts and semi-mesh tank tops that my dad used to wear.
7. He is a road trip WARRIOR. No joke. We drove to Elbe, WA from Atascadero, CA in less than a day. I think we might have stopped three or four times: for gas, bathroom break, food, and a "power nap." I'm very similar when it comes to driving long distance. Unless I have something in mind that I want to see, I'd rather just get to my destination. Pit stops are short, sweet and to the point. No messing around whatsoever!
My dad is bringing his lady friend and her son with him to visit me in July. He seems to think that they can make it here in two days. I think they will probably do it. Like I said, road trip WARRIOR.
8. He likes to shoot things. I think I get this from him. Beer cans, squirrels, woodpeckers, targets, you name it, we'll shoot it. One of the things I'm most looking forward to when he visits is spending some quality time together, shooting off about a million rounds and then eating some of his special tri-tip. Mmmm, good!
9. I love him unconditionally. No matter what happens, I have determined that no level of communication gaps, craziness or family drama will separate me from my dad. He's got a heart of gold under the gritty show he puts on, and I love him for it!
So even though my dad doesn't use the internet and will probably never read this, I'm putting it out here for all the blogosphere to see:
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD! I LOVE YOU!