Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the end of an era

This post is for my dad, whose last official day as a working man was yesterday. Goodbye pediatrics, hello retirement!

For the record, my dad has always worked his ass off. I can remember repeatedly throughout my childhood the nights when the phone would ring several times, the weekends and holidays dad was on call, the mornings he would get up at 5:45 and be out of the house by 6:30 (which was most mornings, come to think of it) and not get home until 7:00 or later.

And despite this workload that, quite frankly, would crush me if I had to keep it up, he still found time to do stuff with me and Leslie all the time - I never had the sense that he was absent. When I was young, we went to Waites Bakery on Tuesday mornings for chocolate covered donuts. We read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hardy Boys and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and the Shel Silverstein books together. And as I got older, we threw the baseball, rode bikes, went to UAB basketball games and Auburn football games, and went waterskiing at the lake. He took me to my first blues club to hear live music one night in New Orleans when I was only about 13 and talked the bouncer into letting us in. He taught me how to drive stick shift (that was an experience) and how to catch fish out of the surf at the beach. Once, when I was in junior high, he took me out of class in the middle of the day to go down to the Birmingham Civic Center when Eric Clapton was in town setting up for a show, just to see if we could catch a glimpse of Clapton and try to meet him (we didn't, but it was a good try nonetheless and the show that night was fantastic).

Not that I was always as appreciative of all this effort as I should have been. I neglected some fairly simple tasks in high school...mostly thing like keeping my room clean and failing to pick up certain items (read: "all my crap") that sat at the foot of the steps waiting to be carried upstairs. I can only imagine how aggravating it must have been for Dad, who worked all day, to come home to the mess created by me and my sister. ("One day you'll understand," he used to say - maybe now I do?)

When my parents dropped me off at W&L to start college, my dad said, "Make yourself proud and you'll make us proud." I hope I can do just that - I've certainly had a role model to show me exactly how it's done. I love you, Dad - congrats on a great career! Cheers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In a few short paragraphs, you made up for all the times your Dad thought he was unloved, unappreciated, and not respected. And, you made me cry!