I am damned lucky to have the father I have.
The man isn't perfect, admittedly, but such flaws as he as are minor. His virtues are far more numerous and of far greater extent. Significant among them, of course, is having raised such an excellent elder son. That, of course, was aided immensely by having such fine taste in spouses. (And, I must admit, he has not done so poorly with his younger son.)
His is a work ethic worth following. I have known him to rise well before daybreak, get his sons up and off to school, then work twelve or fourteen hours in the kindly Texas Hill Country summer (which often starts in February or March and lasts until October or November, with August interrupting), returning home after night has fallen. Then, stained with sweat and the dirt of honest labor and despite being drained from the day, he would still make time to connect with his family before at last making his way to bed. And he would do this day after day after day for weeks on end, all to provide for his household.
Even now, with a better job on a more regular schedule, he is seemingly always at work. When he is home, he tends to projects around the house--not just the normal upkeep of lawn and garden, but such things as extending the roof of the house to cover the front porch better, or removing sheds that have been storm-damaged to put up others of better quality. Or he works to restore family heirloom furniture, century-old dressers and chair and curio cabinets that connect him and the rest of us to our heritage in a palpable, physical way. Or he pieces together panes of stained glass and frames them. Or he does any one of a hundred other things that "need doing," staying busy for most if not all the time the sun is in the sky and making things better for others.
And that is the most important thing; he helps other people, regardless of the cost or reward to himself. The drive to do so is what drove him to take them helm of an overwhelmed and underfunded band booster organization and lead it through acquiring a grant of hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy instruments for a band whose equipment had not been upgraded in twenty years. It is what led him to suffer through sun-blasted weekends, working with vendors who were all too often unpleasant and customers who were no better, for a decade so that a local craft fair could become stable and enduring. It is what led him to stop what he was doing and set up a pup tent for a young boy and his brother instead of staying inside in the blessed coolness of an air conditioned home in the Texas Hill Country summer after a day of hard work. And it is what led him to set up a solid standing platform near the tree line for an ungrateful little twerp who learned later on what it takes to do such a thing.
What he does as a matter of course, without concern but with great sincerity, is something I hope to someday do half so well--and many others could well stand to strive for the same. So Happy Father's Day, Pop; I love you.