This I Believe

Sue - Liberty, Missouri
Entered on October 13, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: parenthood

I attended a funeral at which the children proclaimed their deceased father had been the BEST DAD and GREATEST MAN in the world.

I wondered at the time whether they weren’t exaggerating a little. As fine as my Dad was until the day he died– October 2,2006 at the age of 86– I’m not sure I would have deemed him BEST at anything.

Truth is– ranking top dog wasn’t what my dad Allen Meyer was all about. Born a twin, Dad felt most whole being a cozy part of the pack, suiting up with the basketball team in high school, for example, and playing violin in the orchestra.

After the attack of our ships at Pearl Harbor, Dad wanted to enlist in the Navy, but failing the eye test, signed up with the Army instead. His four eyes kept Dad off the fron lines, but because he could bang a mean typewriter, he would find service overseas as assistant to a chaplain. Like others in his generation, Dad helped to secure the peace and move our nation toward a prosperity that sent his son and two daughters through college.

Once the war was over, Dad returned home to Mom and me, content to settle into the roles of husband and father and the regular routines of a family. Happily, Dad also found family at the local steel mill where he was employed in the Traffic Department for over 41 years. The consummate “company man,” Dad reveled in his work without needing to become the CEO. As long as he could provide his wife and children a stable income and be home by 5:30 for a dinner of meat and potatoes plus one of Mom’s Snickerdoodle cookies, he was satisfied.

Every evening, soon as he had read the paper, Dad headed outside to play baseball with us kids. He didn’t have to be the manager or coach of an organized team to have fun. He only wanted to pitch, catch, and hit in a scrub game with the rest of us guys. Under Dad’s regime our yard perennially fell shor of becoming a lawn– but who needs grass when you had a Dad willing to subdivide his yard into a sports complex.

Through life, Dad didn’t require being the “STAR” to feel okay. Still, he didn’t hesitate bestowing that title on his loved ones whenever he could. In fact, my Dad was BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD at making folks feel terrific about themselves. Even after he lost his eyesight completely, it was the central ingredient of his conversations.

But wait, can that be me speaking in the kind of superlative I questioned those other children for talking? It is indeed, because like them, I can’t help myself. Even the stats of an Average Joe eventually catch up with them, and for certain, this everyday Dad of mine posted some very big scores. Welcome to the Big Leagues, NUMBER ONE DAD. You earned it!