By Craig Maccubbin
I wanted to be like my dad as a kid – more so than the typical boy growing up in suburbia. My dad was stronger, cooler, smarter, handier, more athletic, and better looking than your dad. This is, of course, not true; but as a young boy growing up, those were my exact thoughts. This admiration was reinforced by so many of the things my father did particularly well. He could throw a football with such smoothness and velocity, that I spent years practicing with him and my brother, with the goal of eventually acquiring the same powerful spiral. He could build model airplanes like a professional, and when he shared his techniques for painting the little pilot, I listened to the instructions as if they were commandments. He could change the oil in every car he ever owned, he was a master photographer, and he could speak at length on pretty much any topic. Heck, he could use a voltmeter to measure electric charges in a way that I still don’t quite understand.
My Dad loved to talk…to anyone, about any subject. I would have friends over to our house, and Dad was invariably in the mix of conversation, engaging all of us?in whatever was important in our lives that particular week. That was sometimes annoying to a teenager, but far and away it was a cool thing, and my friends thought so too. Plus, my Dad was entertaining and had a terrific track record at making anyone of any age laugh uncontrollably. I always liked?that part. My friends would say, “Your Dad is cool,” and I knew it to be true.
When I was a teenager, I called him a curse word. A really bad word. To his face. I am not sure if he recognized this as some standard alpha-male rite of passage that all parents of teenage boys must endure, or if he thought me temporarily insane. The whole incident could have escalated into a conflagration of male egos, damaging the both of us and our relationship forever. But to his credit, my dad handled the situation with patience and quiet strength. He didn’t lecture me, or resort to the same language. In the process, I learned that forgiveness was always available from my father, even in the heat of disagreement.
Don’t get me wrong, my dad wasn’t perfect. No one is. But he was an amazing man. My father has passed away, and I miss him greatly. I still want to be like him. I had a whole lot more to learn from him after all.