Grandpa pitched a perfect game for the Philidelphia Phillies on Father’s Day of 1964. I never understood the significance of that event until July 28 1994, when you and I watched Kenny Rogers become the 14th pitcher to join that elite Major League Baseball club. We didn’t even want to go to the game that night, but we went. It was hot. We had great seats. I don’t remember the first few innings, but I do remember the two of us on our feet with the rest of the crowd for the entire eighth and ninth innings. I remember the silence as those last few pitches smacked gloves, as those last few Angels swung their way to their loss. I remember cheering our lungs out. We went home elated. It was one of the most fully alive nights of my life. I love that we shared it. It is my favorite memory with you.
(That said, when I wade through the stacks of memories with you, so, so many are happy and good, especially my memories of when I was little: days at the beach and backyard baseball and learning to ride my bike and broken prestidigitators…)
You have a lot of kids, you know. Sometimes I look at photos when the younger kids were little and still feel overwhelmed and a sense of wonder that we survived… and laughed during so many crazy years…
Each of us has pieces of you in our composition.
Bridget has your quickness to stand against injustice.
I have your introverted-ness and love of running.
Meghan has your humor.
Jay has your natural generosity (and your looks, good Lord).
Sam reflects you the way you reflect Jesus, seemingly weak but actually strong.
Deborah has your ability to make herself heard.
Ben has your soft heart.
Zeke has your affectionate side.
Zak has your sarcasm and your intelligence.
Tater has your relational skills.
Josh notices things to call out in people the way you do. I’m reminded of this whenever I hang out with him. He’s quick to say thanks for being this way or that… And he was the cutest baby in the world.
Jono has your love of books and alone time.
Jakey has your ability and desire to close a deal.
You and Mom’s greatest gift to all of us is that you’ve stayed together and worked hard at continuing to love each other. You haven’t ever claimed perfection but have been willing to change time and again through good times and bad. We know we’re loved. And you’ve instilled confidence in us, which is another amazing gift.
Thanks for loving each of us. Thanks for loving me. Happy Father’s Day. May you know you are loved and celebrated. It’s been a wild ride. And a good one.
I love you lots,