Policeman, Spiderman, teacher, doctor, soldier … These individuals and more have at least one common bond: They are all considered heroes.
Growing up in rural Alabama, there were slim pickings when it came to entertainment options. My sister and I always seemed to somehow entertain ourselves, whether it was watching Saturday morning cartoons or playing with our Barbies. But, the majority of the time, you would find me outside embarking on all sorts of adventures.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed playing with dolls and playing dress-up from time to time, but ask anybody in my family, and they’ll tell you that I was the biggest tomboy they’d ever known. On weekends, I didn’t leave the house without wearing a baseball cap (I had a nice collection as a preteen). I would plan ahead and wear shorts underneath my dress on Sunday nights just so I could play baseball out in the field after church.
My mom always tells everyone that when I would leave for school in the mornings, my hair would be in place (usually in a side ponytail), my shirt would be tucked in, and my jeans would be freshly washed and pressed. Unfortunately, that was not the case when I would return home in the afternoons—my hair would be halfway down my back (half in and half out of my hair holder), my shirt would be worn and untucked, and those jeans would somehow be covered in dirt with a hole or two ripped at the knees. But at least I had the best time while I was at school.
I always like to think of myself as the boy my dad never had but always wanted in a way. He taught me how to ride my bike without training wheels when I was four. He taught me that if you fall (literally), to just get up, dust yourself off, and try again. He taught me how to build a shelf, put shingles on a roof, change a flat tire, change and check the oil in my car and, most importantly, how to drive his lovely, red Mahindra tractor (or, as I call it, his toy).
He trained me in junior high on how to achieve the presidential award in gym class, which I earned my eighth-grade year. He helped me (actually he and my grandpa) build a tree house that had a quick escape apparatus—similar to the one seen in the first “Home Alone” movie. He also taught me how to bait a hook, shoot a gun and throw a perfect spiral. He has been there with me through every milestone in my life.
He is the reason for my love of watching the Crimson Tide rush onto the field every Saturday during football season. He is the reason for my love of nature and the outdoors. He was my riding partner when I was too scared to ride my first loop roller coaster during a church trip. He is the reason why I am half the woman I am today (I have to give my mom some credit here.)
My dad has worked hard his entire life, whether it was at a local gas station, as a carpenter or as a coal miner (in which I’m still so thankful he was able to walk away in one piece and retire from). My dad is a Vietnam veteran. My dad is a huge role model and leader in my spiritual upbringing. My dad doesn’t say much but when he does, his words are very wise and thoughtful.
In four more months, my dad will take me by my arm and lead me down the aisle to the man I will marry. My dad is the one I hold in high regard and whose standards I have measured every other guy by. He is a husband, father, grandfather (Poppa), and best friend. He is my “Daddy”! He is MY hero!
Happy Father’s Day!