For the next few Fridays, I'm going to be posting about my Dad. If you're a frequent reader, you'll know that he's pretty sick with cancer and we're not too sure how much longer he's going to hold on. So I want each of you to get to know him a little bit, and I want to talk about him honestly--both good and bad. I'm sure I can come up with a few interesting tidbits about him. I'll start with the typical 100 things.
1. I have never heard my father fart.
2. I never saw him take a drink or smoke.
3. He always wears pajamas to bed.
4. He went to 2 years of community college before buying his own business (at 19).
5. He always had at least one boat.
6. His first wife's name was Linda, my sister's Mom.
7. He retired when he was 53.
8. For most of my childhood, he had a beard.
9. He is the biggest hypochondriac you will ever meet.
10. He once sold a car because he thought the blue dye in the seats gave him a headache.
11. He loved "things."
12. We had a 50" TV in 1983.
13. It still works, and sits in his living room today.
14. It has the best picture of any big screen TV I've ever seen.
15. He never let animals inside the house.
16. Except my cat, Kitty.
17. That he secretly loved more than life itself, but wouldn't admit it.
18. He is a perfectionist.
19. He'd spend hours upon hours fixing small scratches on furniture.
20. I caught that disease from him.
21. Every morning in high school (even when he was sick), he got up and cooked my mom and me breakfast.
22. EVERY morning.
23. His business was called "Tasty Treat," in the mold of Dairy Queen.
24. He worked there all his adult life, making hamburgers and shakes and fries.
25. I used to think he was a loser for that.
26. Then I realized that when he retired, his house, business and all earthly possessions were paid for.
27. And that turned out to be pretty damn smart.
28. My father is the most honest, decent man you'll ever meet.
29. I'd like to think I caught than from him, too.
30. He never took vacations. Only once did he leave the kids and take my Mom to Vegas.
31. We always had some type of recreational vehicle. Campers, boats, etc.
32. We rarely used them.
33. He spanked me twice, that I remember.
34. I deserved them both times.
35. He grew up in LaPorte, TX.
36. He has one younger sister, Trina.
37. His father worked at the Humble oil refinery (Now ExxonMobil) all his life.
38. His mother was a housewife.
39. He had a stack of Playboy magazines under his bathroom sink.
40. I looked at them all the time. Suzanne Summers was the first naked woman I ever saw.
41. He and my Mom used to argue quite a bit.
42. Now they are inseparable.
43. He never told me about the birds and the bees.
44. He was an excellent basketball player in high school.
45. He is extremely shy.
46. I do not recall that he had any close friends in adulthood.
47. All through my childhood, I think we had two non-family people over for dinner.
48. We had hundreds of family members over for dinner.
49. He taught me many, many valuable lessons about working, like:
50. The customer is always right. No matter what.
51. Never sell a product you're not proud of.
52. Take care of your employees.
53. He always drove a truck.
54. He always rooted for Houston teams: Astros, Oilers, Rockets.
55. I think baseball is his favorite sport.
56. He knew just about everyone that came into the restaurant.
57. If he didn't, he at least said "Hi."
58. He hardly EVER missed one of my sporting events.
59. Sometimes he'd just run over from work just to catch a few minutes of the game.
60. He never stayed because I think he was afraid he'd smell like hamburgers.
61. He never pushed me in sports. He was just really supportive.
62. He ALWAYS took my coach's side. ALWAYS.
63. He tried very hard to convince me to go to college in Texas. Very hard.
64. He is about 6'3".
65. In the 30+ years he owned his restaurant, he never took a shit in the restroom.
66. When I was little in the summers, I'd stay up at the restaurant and help him.
67. We ran errands: grocery store, meat market, supply company, soda company, etc.
68. When I bought something for him, he never, EVER, let me keep his change. EVER.
69. He reads a newspaper every day.
70. He's not too hot on the computer, but he's trying.
71. My Dad is funny. I mean really, really funny.
72. In a witty, roll your eyes way. Lots of puns and smart comments.
73. My Mom and I used to say that we should keep track of all the stupid little things he said.
74. I wish we would have.
75. If you used his tools, you better put them back in the exact spot you got them from.
76. If you borrowed something from the neighbors, you took it back in better condition that when you got it.
77. When you used his truck, you filled the tank back to where it was.
78. You didn't talk back.
79. When he was working in the yard, YOU were working in the yard.
80. When I was an adolescent, he never gave me money. I had to earn every cent.
81. I hated him for that.
82. But now that I'm more successful than all of my childhood friends, I appreciate the lesson.
83. I'm not 100% sure my Dad believes in God.
84. He rarely went to church, but made me go with my Mom.
85. He's not a very good patient.
86. No matter how he feels, if you ask him about it, he says "Oh, I'm doin' fine."
87. Sometimes he just stops taking his medicine. No one can make him.
88. I'm pretty sure he is really tired of being sick. Really, really tired of it.
89. When I was younger, he'd often have fits of rage and depression.
90. I think I caught that disease from him, too. But having named it makes it better.
91. At the end of every work shift, he'd bring the bag of money home and "count the change."
92. Sometimes he let me do this.
93. I never realized it, but I'm sure hundreds of thousands of dollars passed across that small little desk.
94. He had one of those old adding machines that went click, click, click, ka-chunk.
95. He once threw a fire extinguisher against the wall because the holes he drilled in the boat to hold it weren't aligned exactly vertical.
96. Since he's been sick, he has made sure my mom will never want for anything.
97. My Mom would give it all up for him to hang on a few more years.
98. I'm pretty sure his favorite thing to eat is a coke float.
99. I know with all my heart that he's proud of me.
100. The feeling is mutual.