Friday, May 12, 2006

The finest man I know

Let me tell you about the finest man I know.

He was a great athlete as a kid. Played football and basketball growing up, was co-captain of the Halls High football team. He cleaned up well, so they named him best dressed as a senior. And everybody liked him, so he was named Mr. Halls High, too.

After high school, he took a few classes at UT, but Uncle Sam came calling. His orders read Vietnam. Then Nixon started Vietnamization and the withdrawal of American forces. So he got to go to Germany.

He came back home in the spring of 1971. A friend introduced him to another Halls girl, Gail Wyatt, in 1972. They married in 1973. Worked at a few jobs, finally getting on with TVA in 1975. He took night classes and earned a college degree from UT.

They had twins -- a son and daughter -- in 1978. The daughter didn't make it. It was tough, but they made it through. Another daughter was born in 1980.

He'd bring his kids animal crackers home from work. Would set up toy trains on the kitchen table and show them how to get ready in the morning.

He's a good looking guy, too. Some used to say he looked a little like Tom Selleck. Best personality you'll ever find.

He and his wife divorced in 1983. But he kept loving his kids. Would pick them up on Wednesday nights and every other Friday for weekend visits. He'd cook his kids food and bring them surprises from time to time.

He finally married again in 1991. He and his wife, Kim, had a son in 1993. Cameron's now a rising eighth grader at Halls Middle School.

In 28 years, I've rarely heard him raise his voice. And when he would get mad, and spank his kids for something they deserved, he'd tell them he loved them later. He never heard his Dad tell him that, so he's made sure to tell his kids "I love you" at every opportunity.

He retired from TVA last year. These days he takes his mother shopping, mows her yard and helps her run errands. He's got an old car he tinkers with and says he'd like to find a part time job to keep him busy.

But, more than all this, he's the finest man I've ever known. He's the type of guy I hope to be. There are few of them left in this world, but to me, he's a hero. I don't tell him enough, but I love him very much.

Happy birthday, Dad.


Blogger Dewayne said...

I like your dad. He's nice.

6:10 PM  

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