- He worked at Dairy Queen as a teenager, which came in handy when we were growing up. Whenever we ate at a place like Shoney’s or Golden Coral, he could always make the perfect ice-cream swirl on the self-serve machine. As a kid, this made him pretty awesome in my eyes.
- He reads the newspaper every day.
- Due to #2, when I was in college he often sent me newspaper clippings of students who went missing or got robbed or scary things like that. Always trying to make me safe and more aware of my surroundings, but sometimes it just scared the crap out of me.
- He likes to pretend that he doesn’t know how old he is. Then we yell at him and call him a crazy old man. He finds this very funny for some reason.
- It is really hard to get him to make a normal face when we take pictures. Apparently, I get the “goofy-face gene” from him.
- When he was in high school he broke his neck and for a month he was paralyzed from the neck down.
- He’s one of the most positive, thankful people I know. Because of #6 I grew up hearing him often say, “If you’re able to get up and walk, you’re having a good day.” I love this. It is a saying that floats in my mind when I’m feeling sad or sorry for myself.
- Also, due to #6, he hates it when healthy people illegally park in handicap parking spot. He’s been known to call the cops on them.
- Last thing about breaking his neck: he’s got this long, wicked scar down his neck from the surgery they had to perform on him. When I was middle-school age he would tell all my friends that the scar was from having a surgery where they removed half his brain because he was born too smart and his parents wanted to give him a normal life. And most of my friends believed him. This is typical of my dad- making up crazy stories to fool people so you never know what’s true or not. He gets kick out of it. That’s why this gift was very appropriate for him:
- His favorite color is red.
- In high school he won all-state for wrestling in his weight division.
- He loves to play practical jokes on his friends. If you’re one of his good friends and find tons of free infomercial gifts clogging up your mailbox, it’s probably him.
- When we were kids he used to always let us go outside and play in the rain.
- He’s the only person I know who has a bigger sweet tooth than me. He’s been known to wake up at 4:00 in the morning just for an Oreo snack and then he goes back to bed.
He was a truck driver for Frito-lay for 18 years.
- When he was trucker he loved to mess with the other drivers on his CB radio using fake voices and saying things to make them mad. It was so fun to listen to! His CB name was Red Rooster.
- His nickname with friends is Precious. This is made more hilarious by the fact that he’s a big, burly, 6’2″ dude.
- He is WAY obsessed with eating hamburgers. I mean, he seriously could put the Hamburglar to shame. In fact, just the other day while he was at Burger King another customer was shocked by the fact that Dad could eat an entire Whopper in just 3 bites. Dad took this as a huge compliment. I take it as he needs to eat more veggies and watch his cholesterol.
- He loves to watch “Desperate Housewives”. Lynette is his favorite and he can’t stand Gaby. I can’t even begin to explain how much this makes me laugh!
- He like to call the radio station that has The Regular Guys on it and use the name “Willie Jerome Muhammed” and say crazy things. He’s been on the radio like 10 times already.
- He ADORES Bailey. There isn’t even a word to describe how much he loves being her Paw-paw. He likes to randomly call during the week just to talk with her and see how she’s doing.
- He also randomly calls me just to say he loves me and is thinking of me. I realize I’m hugely blessed to have him as a father and I wish more than anything that every girl in the world could have a dad like him.
- He’s one of the smartest people I know. Although he doesn’t own up to it. He thinks he’s just a “dumb ol’ truckdriver”, but we all know better!
- When I was really little he used to make up Winnie the Pooh stories for me. But for some reason we called him Winnie the Poo-Poo Bear instead.
- He and my mom are high school sweethearts. I love looking at their old prom pictures together. My favorite is the one where he’s sporting a 70’s afro.
- He loves his dogs. He tries to appear gruff and tough on the outside, but he’s a big mushy teddy bear on the inside and his dogs are his babies.
- He loves riding his bike and goes out on the Silver Comet Trail several times a week. Last year his goal was to ride 3,000 miles and he was only a couple hundred short.
- When he’s riding the trail he likes to randomly scream out and startle strangers. Again- anything to get a laugh. Don’t ask about the goofy glasses:
- In elementary school he used to come and eat lunch with me on his days off. All the little girls would want to sit with me on those days. ha ha!
- Although he’s 51 years old, he’s the biggest kid I know.
- He’s generous with his emotions- freely gives hugs and “I love yous” on a frequent basis.
- He loves little kids and elderly people.
- He’s the most humble person I know.
- For our wedding he had to pick up some of Steve’s relatives from the airport who were older women whom I had never even met. He showed up at the airport holding a sign with their names on it and he was wearing an Elmer Fudd hat and his fake, redneck Bubba teeth. They did ask to see his driver’s license to make sure he was for real, but then they thought it was super funny. They still talk about it to this day.
- The only other time, besides the ceremony, that I cried during my wedding was the first time I saw him all dressed up in his suit and he came to take pictures with me. One of my favorite memories ever.
- When we were kids and the county fair would come to town, he would check me and my brother out of school early to let us look at all the animals and eat a funnel cake before it got too busy and crowded. Such special days!
- He loves to eat burnt popcorn. Yuck! The smell drove me crazy and it’s the reason I don’t eat popcorn now.
- Don’t ever ask him for directions. Instead of one simple route, he’ll give you 50 options and by the end of the conversation you’re so confused that you just give up and stay home.
- When we were kids he loved watching Saturday morning cartoons with us.
- He gives great advice. He listens well and then thoughtfully offers his opinion and then steps back. He never pressures us or pushes his own agenda, just lets us do our own thing and supports us. He has never tried to make us into someone we’re not.
- He always says that if he ever won the lottery he would use the money to pay off all his family and friends’ mortgages. And he really would.
- When I would come home from college he would hide boxes of Danish Wedding Cookies (one of my faves) around for me to find . . . in my pillow case, in my drawers, etc.
- Of course he wasn’t always so sweet. He would also sometimes hide dead roaches or spiders in my room for me to find. I am terrified of bugs and he loved it when he heard the scream that would inevitably follow my discovery.
- He speaks with a slow Southern drawl. And when he gets around people who are fast-talkers he tells them to slow down saying, “You hear how slow I speak? That’s how slow I listen.” ha ha!
- He doesn’t like cold weather at all. And his idea of cold is anything below 65 degrees. When he visits us in Colorado you would think he’s entering the Arctic for how cold he claims it is.
From all his stories, I get the impression his childhood was a bit like the movie The Sandlot, only with more fights and devious mischief than the PG-13 rating would allow.
- He pretends he doesn’t like cats (too manly for them??), but we often catch him loving on the family cat and being super sweet to her when he thinks no one is looking.
- Last year we threw him a surprise 50th birthday party and about 75 people showed up. He’s just one of those guys that everyone loves.
- He’s really good at apologizing. Even when we were kids and his temper got to him or something like that, he would always come in and tell me and Kyle he was sorry and ask for our forgiveness. As a kid I thought that was amazing- my big, grown-up Dad telling me he’s sorry. Taught me a lot about inner character and humility.
- Up until about 10 years ago he had long hair and an earring. He keeps talking about getting a tattoo and we’re all waiting . . .
- Lastly- he is one of my heroes. For a zillion reasons. He’s not perfect- no one is- but he loves us unconditionally for who we are and nurtures our individual spirits, and in my opinion, you can’t ask for a better dad than that! He’s a wonderful earthly representation of my Father in heaven. God blessed me a million times over by giving him to me as my daddy. I can’t wait to hang out with him these next 51 years!
(the food table at his bday party last year- 70% of it is candy!)
(he and his Grandma- one of his favorite people)
(look at that face! we’re torturing him!)
(he and I going to a Father/Daughter dance….he’s rocking the long hair and i’m rocking the puffy sleeves! ha ha!)