Someone asked me to picture the person I think of when I hear the word "integrity". I pictured my Dad. No hesitation. And he would probably try to push that adjective away, because he is also the first person I would picture if I heard the word "humble". My Dad was my first best friend. I am told it was that way from the start. He was the first one I wanted to share exciting events with ("I am the fastest girl in the whole 5th grade!"), the one I upheld the family name for with my feats of dexterity and skill (getting up on those darn water skis), the one I was devastated by if I let him down in any way, and usually all that took was a look, and "Ah, Kris." My Dad is described as quiet, kind, and shy. I once wrote about him, "In the quiet that is my Father, I hear mountains being moved." So, he isn't a loud personality, but he taught me to appreciate silence, looking up at the stars or sitting on the beach, walking in the woods. He taught me patience with others and how to listen. He taught me how to study directions and sit long at a project, to do it right, to sigh, smile, and shake my head if I made a mistake, to swear in jibberish, "Oh, gotcha-ma-hooey" or just, "Dog-gonnit". My Dad has great faith and always seemed to reassure that it will be alright... in a way that you have no trouble believing it... my first lessons in positive thinking. I always knew he would do the right thing. I trusted him. My Dad was the one that had us up and running races to the fence and back, he taught us each how to throw a frisbee, a baseball (like a boy), horseshoes, to fly a kite in the wind. He didn't push hard, but we wanted to please him. Hearing, "There, you got it!", was enough to make me smile and try even harder. My Dad isn't always quiet, of course. He has the loudest sneezes I have ever heard in my lifetime. Every once in awhile I throw out a whopper as a tribute. One of my favorite sounds, to this day, is a man whistling. My Dad would whistle and trill and whether it was a particular tune or just happy notes, I would be drawn to wherever he was and whatever he was doing, working in the garage, fixing the television, or putting up a fence. I would just be by him, roller skating or doing cartwheels, handing him what he needed. He has a particular whistle, as a lot of Dad's do, that brought us kids running from all corners. Just that sharp, short up-note, that meant, "Here. Now." Then there were the times, usually family trips, where we were getting a bit obnoxious (O.k., maybe a lot obnoxious), and Dad would just deftly pull the car off the road and reach one arm over his seat to look right back at us and threaten to "turn this car around!". He wasn't loud very often, but when he was, we listened. My Dad is the reason I love camping. He is the reason I try to be honest. He is the reason I have a stunt kite for the beach. He is the reason I felt respected as a girl.
No matter what, I always, always feel like my Dad knows I can do anything. And that has meant much more to me than he will ever know.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy.
I love you,