Hello Dad! It’s now more than 45 years since you’ve passed and even though I think of you often I‘ve never taken the time to say things to you. There have been many times I wished you’d been alive to see the things I’ve done. Like when I decided to join the military just like you did. It turned out I did well in the Army and that gave me the confidence I needed to accomplish more things in the future. I thought you’d want to know that.
There have been many things happen in my life, as you can imagine, and most have been good but there have been a few bad ones that I deal with to this day. It’s been the difficult times that have led me to a life of empathy, compassion, strength and respect for others.
The things I’ve accomplished have been mostly through hard work and dedication but others by pure luck, or by being at the right place at the right time and others simply by choosing not to quit.
I’ve also failed many times Dad, for various reasons, but I haven’t let those setbacks stop me from moving on and living a productive life.
Dad, I want to tell you that even though I wasn’t quite seven years old when you died I learned a lot from you. I learned from you to share with others and learned how simple gestures of kindness can leave a lasting impression on someone.
Specifically, I remember the times you were home from your fishing trips and you would load the kids in the car. And not only your children but our friends as well. You would take us to the drive-in to get burgers and fries and ice cream. And you’d always pay for everyone and you did it happily!
I did that when my own children were young often taking them and their friends out for pizza, or to the movies or for a game of bowling. If I hadn’t seen you do that I don’t know if I would’ve known any better. I learned that from you Dad!
I also want to tell you about something I found out long after you died that made me appreciate you even more.
While I was going through some papers that Mom gave me a few years ago I learned that you sent her money from wherever your fishing trips took you, even half-way around the world it seemed. I have some deposit receipts from the bank stashed away somewhere. I was truly impressed by that but I shouldn’t have been surprised because you provided well for your family. I remember that about you Dad.
I found some other documents that showed you started working in the fishing industry at a very young age and that you didn’t stop working until your health got to be too bad. I admire you for that Dad.
Dad, I want you to know I’ve been steadily employed since I graduated from high school. I go to work every day and I have you to thank for showing me that I need to provide for my family just like you did for yours. There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit or give up but I have you as an example and still to this day look back on your life and get strength from that. Thank you Dad!
And Dad, I also want to tell you that because of you I love the ocean. And I love seafood just like you did! I remember you bringing fresh seafood home when you got back from a fishing trip and remember you preparing it for us. Thank you also for taking us fishing at the boat ramp. It was a thrill to see all those blue crabs when we pulled the bucket out of the water. And we would go home and again you’d prepare them for us to eat. Thank you for doing that for us Dad.
A few years ago I visited Biloxi because I wanted to see where you grew up. I noticed that the house you lived in is very near the ocean. When I retire from work I plan to move back home and buy a small house near the ocean too Dad. And I’ll spend a lot of time fishing, just like you did. But I’ll do it for fun and not for work like you did. I know you’d like that for your youngest son.
Dad, Happy Father’s Day! I wish you were here so I can thank you for all that you taught me. And maybe you would be proud of me for the man I’ve become. I think I’m becoming more like you each day. And I am very happy about that.
Your son who has never forgotten you.