"A father carries pictures where his money used to be." -- Unknown
Today is Father's Day, but of course, unless you live under a rock, you know that already. It is about those men who have stepped up to the plate and been good fathers. Those who have been there for children whether they belong to them or not. Indulge me while I talk about the men in my life.
My maternal grandfather passed away when I was just 8. He played "Crabby Appleton" (a game where he would hide and jump out and scare me). He would watch "The Dukes of Hazzard" with me, even though he claimed to hate the show. He babysat when my parents were out. In fact, just a few years ago, I found out he spent his last New Year's Eve babysitting my brother and me. He died just 10 days later. I wish he would have been here to meet my son.
My paternal grandfather had a life-changing heart attack last May. Every day that passes is a blessing to still have him in my life. I wasn't as close to him as I would have liked to have been, but unfortunate circumstances kept that from happening. I do remember that he had, still has, a kegerator (a refrigerator with a keg built in) in his basement. He has every cap from every keg that has ever been in the fridge hanging on the walls on his basement. I remember the pop machine that he kept on his deck that he stocked with cans. We didn't have to pay; you just pushed the button of what you wanted and out it came.
My father and I have not always had the best relationship, but I think that's typical with most parent-child relationships. He taught me how to play basketball. He trained with me when I wanted to run track (which I never did). He taught me how to drive and drove me to school the better part of my four years of high school. He is one of my babysitters now. He had a heart attack last year, but is OK now. I hope I still have many years to spend with him.
My father-in-law has only been in my life for about 11 years, but he has made me feel like a daughter. When my husband picks on me, his dad picks on him. He does everything and anything he can to help us out, whether we ask him to or not. He is, hands down, one of the best father-in-laws a girl could have. And I think it's safe to say I think I'm his favorite daughter-in-law, too (wink, wink - I'm the only one).
There is one man in my life who is not a father. He was never blessed with children of his own, but he has been a father to me in more ways than he can ever imagine. He is my uncle, not by blood, by choice. He and my aunt took me on I don't know how many vacations. He took care of my car for me when I lived on my own and didn't have a man in my life. He was there the day my son was born. He has been there whenever I needed someone.
Last but not least is my husband. He is a wonderful provider, friend and father. He would give anything to anyone if he had it to give. When a friend of ours had a baby 10 years ago, he held her like a football; it made him uncomfortable. He has come a long way. He was afraid to be a dad (who isn't?), but he has been great with our son since the day he was born. He has done everything for us. He helps Little Man learn and try new things. He has been there for me for all my highs and lows. And I am sure he will continue to do so, 'til death do us part.
To all the dads, uncles, brothers, friends, whether you have kids or not, have a wonderful Father's Day. And to those men in my life, I love you all.
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)