16 June 2013

Father (2013)

My Dad has always been the ultimate male figure I've tried to emulate. He embodies everything a man should be, and also a model for how a father should be towards his son. Wayne Johnson grew up dirt poor in Hattiesburg, Mississippi - his formative years only as many years removed from World War II as we are from 9-11 in the current day. Watching his Dad own and operate a barber shop ingrained the work ethic into him, and at age fifteen he got his first job as a hospital orderly, never to be out of work for even one day until he retired from the power company in 2003, then going on to procure his realtor's license and work in that field for several more years. Dad always went out of his way to consider and include me, and he has saved my ass (literally) on at least a couple dozen occasions. So, my Dad is the one person I officially honor every Father's Day.

There have been several other male role models that deserve mentioning on Father's Day. My male first cousins who are older than me - two from Dad's brother and one from Dad's eldest sister. Only one of them is a father - he has one daughter, just like me. All three of them have been a huge influence on me, if only in my idealization of them.

I have two friends who work at the local theater, where I worked in high school. I have been friends with them both thirty years as of this year. Being friends with them for this length of time has taught me the value of not only having a friend, but also being one.

There is a man in Memphis whom all the dancers call "Dad." During my twelve year tenure disc jockeying in the topless clubs in that town, he was someone who always kept an eye out for me. I thought of him as "My Memphis Dad," and he saved my ass more times than I'm aware of, I'm sure. I always respected him - partly because of the level of respect he gave me and partly because he demanded it. I'm thinking of him on this Father's Day, too.

My own brother - my mother & father's second child - is someone of whom I speak of very little. He's not talking to me right now & I definitely deserve my punishment. He is the unsung hero in my life. I tip my hat & nod to him today as well.

I'm a father, too. There are several defining moments that measure my life "before" and "after" each event. Abigail's being born is definitely one of those defining moments in my life.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads and male role models, all over the world.

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