I’m getting ready to board a plane to Colombia. My dad passed away suddenly yesterday, so now I’m getting on a flight to go deal the with the after. I don’t have much, but I do have a few thoughts and mostly pictures.
My dad was a big guy – big feet, big heart, big personality. He is the man who ingrained in me the phrase, “intestinal fortitude”. I used to hate those words, but lord have I been referring to them in the past few years as to what made me the person I am today.
My dad loved baseball. Really, though, he loved all sports. My dad was an insanely busy guy, what with owning his petroleum company in my early years. And while he was pressed for time, he alway took my brother out to practice hitting, fielding and pitching. He once threw a pop fly so well placed that I lost it in the sun and found it later on my eye, my soon to be black eye. I never let him live that down. My brother hit a line drive into his shin during one particular batting practice, only to switch and have me hit a line drive to the exact same spot. He never let us live that down. And while, we haven’t thrown a ball or gone to batting practice since I was a child, we stayed connected through sports. I will miss his texts asking me the current Texas Rangers standings, or Cowboys standings, the outcome of the USMNT Soccer team, or how my Aggies are faring this football season.
My dad also loved fishing. LOVED it. And as you may or may not know, most fisherman love to tell stories as much as they love to fish. And Lord, he had an insane amount of stories because he caught an insane amount of fish – mahi-mahi, a hammerhead shark once, swordfish, tuna, catfish, bass and whatever else he could hook on his line. I think his favorite stories where ones that included my brother and I fishing. I think I’ll miss this the most. I only got to go big fish seeking with him once, and even though he hooked the tuna, he let me reel it in.
My dad loved his job and he was good at it. He worked in petroleum and despite his age, he was actively involved in the drilling process. He hated bureaucracy, loved getting things done, and making sure his engineers were safe and knew how to think for themselves.
He loved to dance, though maybe he wouldn’t land a role on Dancing with the Stars, he always danced his heart out. It’s entirely possible that I inherited his facial expression when dancing.
Among many things, he loved to gamble and play cards, he worked all over the world, loved to hunt, loved to sing, loved his kids in the best way he knew how, loved his grandkids, survived working in Colombia during its many years of struggle, wore white athletic socks with sandals, loved to wear coveralls, and went through a period where all he wore were track suits.
My dad and I didn’t always see eye to eye. We both disappointed each other in many ways throughout our life, but in the last few years, I like to think we grew a deeper understanding of each other. And a deeper love. I will miss him tons and will cling to the many memories of him.