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A belated thank you for Father's Day


Yeah, so I didn't get my dad a Father's Day gift last weekend. It wasn't that I forgot. On the contrary, I knew exactly when Father's Day was, and exactly what I wanted to get. I had plans to get my dad a sweet new Odyssey White Hot putter, just like mine. If anybody has seen my dad putt a golf ball, they know that a knew putter with a soft face wasn't a gift, it was necessity.

Only there was a problem. I looked all over and couldn't find one that was the same. Sure, I probably should have ordered one specially to make sure that I would have one ready for Father's Day. Yeah, and I shouldn't wait until two days before Christmas to do my shopping either. But I still do.

Not having a present is excusable especially with a bit of an explanation. But being the total idiot that I am, I didn't even get him a card. I was too busy trying to maintain my eternal youth, playing fastpitch softball in Great Falls. What's worse is that my mom and dad drove down on Father's Day to watch. I should have had at least a card waiting, but I didn't.

I have never been a big fan of the whole greeting card business. No matter how hard you look, every card is always too something: too serious, too sappy, too goofy, too stupid. They never seem to say exactly what you want them to say.

Of course, you could try to write something, but how exactly do you thank your father for teaching you everything from riding a bike, to casting a fly rod to hitting a baseball and fit it all on a piece of cardboard the size of a DVD box.

Not to mention, my penmanship slightly resembles ancient sanskrit and needs its own translator.

So with plenty of space and a keyboard to make my words readable, I am offering my dad a belated Father's Day card.

Thank you, Dad, because it's the only thing I know to say and the only thing that I should say, for being my father.

Thank you, Dad, for taking me to your fastpitch games when I was kid. I might have been the worst batboy in the history of batboys. Yes, even worse than Dusty Baker's son, who was almost run over during the World Series. People made such a big deal about that, hell I used to do it every week. That was when I was actually being the batboy. Most of the time, I was either at the concession stand or playing ball with other kids behind the dugout. And afterwards when it actually looked like I might make it through a game without being covered in filth, thanks for letting me run the bases after the game so I could slide into every base and make my uniform as dirty as yours.

Thank you, Dad, for teaching me ride a bike the hard way. Sure, plenty of kids learned to ride their bikes on grass so that if you fell you didn't get scraped up. There was no honor in that. Yep, there were plenty of scrapes, cuts and tears, but when I was able to finally ride on two wheels on my own, the tears dried and those scrapes and cuts didn't seem to hurt so much.

Thank you, Dad, for teaching me to play baseball the right way. Our games of catch in the front yard probably had the neighbors ready to call the police. Thanks for making me stand there and catch the ball without moving my body out of the way. Sure, I would dive out of the way at first and you would only throw it harder the next time and even harder if I did it again. It wasn't easy at first because every one is afraid of the ball a little. And I would scream to stop throwing so hard, but you made me trust in my ability to catch the ball.

If catch was tough, hitting was tougher. You had your batting philosophy and I had mine, you had your batting stance and of course mine had to be the exact opposite, because yours didn't look like any of the players on TV. Still, for all of our arguing and all the batting practice taken, I still follow your philosophy of always putting the ball in play, choking up with two strikes and striking out should be treated like 11th commandment - thou shalt not do it, especially looking.

Thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to cast a fly rod. It wasn't pretty at first, I couldn't catch a fish in a fish hatchery with my casting. It was like I was trying to part the waters with my line. People must have thought we were nuts, when they saw me slinging a fly rod in our front yard. Remember that guy who drove by and hollered, "How are they bitin'?"

Thank you, Dad, for being my biggest fan. I can probably count on one hand the number of games - be it baseball, football and basketball - that you missed. I don't know if I played better because you were there, or played worse because I wanted to play well so badly. But I knew exactly where you were sitting at every game. It was a comforting feeling, knowing that I wasn't out there alone.

Thank you Dad, for being a hard-ass. Can I say that? Well, I am. Yeah, you were tough, ornery, stubborn, unwillful and believed you were never wrong and always right. Though it's tough for me to admit, for the most part you were right. Whether it was dragging me out of the dugout by my ears, or off the field for acting like a spoiled baby, or not letting me ride on the highway with other kids in high school. It took me a while to understand the things you did and why. But I know, when and if I do have kids, that many of things you did that I hated, I will follow when raising my kids.

Thank you, Dad, for giving us so much and taking so little. I never went without in my childhood. We had a nice home, plenty to eat, clothes on our back and many things that other kids didn't. If there was something that I really wanted within reason, I usually got it. Well, everything except the sportscar, the motorcycle and that big-screen TV in my room, but come on, what does a 16-year old know about reason?

Thank you, Dad, for being the slightly obsessive-compulsive neat freak who has to have everything cleaned, pressed and in the right place. Yeah, I got mad when you ironed creases in my jeans in high school that still haven't come out. Yeah, I make fun of you for needing to mow your lawn every three days, twice with a checkerboard pattern. Yeah, I still tease you about never having a hair out of place, your shirt untucked or pants not pressed. And yeah, I am still a total slob and the opposite of you when it comes to that stuff, but your ways may still rub off on me some day.

Thank you, Dad, for being you. Because Mom says I am just like you. Standing next to you, people would think I am adopted. But if they were around us long enough, they would know that we are related.

Thank you, Dad because kids sometimes forget to do it when it comes to their parents. We sometimes take things like our parents always being there for granted until it's too late.

Thank you, Dad, because it's all I can really say when it comes to everything you've ever done and will do for me.

Thank you, Dad, because I've never said it enough in all these years.


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