As you have heard before, my family put the “fun” back into dysfunctional.  Dad was not an easy guy to get along with.  He could be harsh and demanding, he was opinionated and hard as flint.  There were times as I became a teenager where we fought (lots of times).  There were a couple times when we got physical.  When Mom and Dad divorced, I told Dad that if I ever saw him again – I would kill him.


Many years went by before I even spoke to Dad.  In those years, God got a hold of me.  He showed me the reason we didn’t get along so well.  It was because we were so much alike.  God also showed me that even during that time when we were at each other’s throats, we were also best of friends.  No matter what happened during the week, you could bet on Friday nights we were planning what we were going to do over the weekend.  It involved either going out on an Auxiliary Patrol or diving (or both).  In fact, I believe I had a relationship with Dad that my siblings never had.  Slowly, Dad and I began to mend fences.


I was sitting in the dining room at his house a couple years before he got his cancer diagnosis.  He told me that some of my siblings “let me have it” (told him what an awful dad he was), and he wanted to give me the opportunity to say something.  I told him that there was something I’d like to say.  You could see him tense up and get ready.  I told him, “Dad, I’m sorry.  I was not a good son.  I was disrespectful and difficult. You did your best, but I fought you every step of the way.  I hope you will forgive me.”  I meant every word of it.  Dad got up and walked out of the room.  He was still hard enough; he didn’t want me to see him “get emotional.”


Dad died from cancer, June 4, 2001.  At the memorial service we met some of Dad’s friends and when I was introduced, people would seem to light up as they said, “You were his diving buddy.”


I am still very much my father’s son – only now I am proud of it.  I do allow God to temper some of our “finer” qualities, but that is going to take a while to resolve.  To keep Dad’s memory alive, I try to quote him every chance I get and drive my girls nuts – preferably at the same time.


Of all the titles I have held in my life, “Daddy” is my all-time favorite.  To all you dads out there – Happy Father’s Day!  God bless you!