I remember being maybe about four years old, playing in the living room with him. I think the carpet was a mottled grey shag in that room and the couches we had were probably second-hand like mine are today. A grey plaid pattern and a scratchy material covered the cushions we used to make our forts under the table as we listened to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy. We had great adventures together. Once I even got to ride my imagination as far as space when I climbed inside a welding suit and put on the mask. I was an astronaut and he was my hero, with his uniform shirts and steel toed boots.
As I grew older he taught me other things: how to tie my shoes, ride a bike, who sang all the songs on the radio, to plant marigolds at the edge of the garden and what the names were of every bush and tree around the outside of our humble home he worked so hard for us to have. From him I learned what metals you can recycle, how the inside of a toilet works and how to drive a car. Our adventures evolved too, from car rides through the park to look for deer to going fishing and then to him visiting for dinner at the restaurant where I waited tables, where he would smile proudly and leave a generous tip.
Although he challenged me to always do better, he was never discouraging or angry when I didn't get straight A's. Even though he worked long days to make sure we were fed and clothed and comfortable, he always made time to shoot hoops or come to school plays. And most importantly of all, he showed me that it's always worthwhile to help those in need, even if you are tired yourself.
These days I have a husband to kill spiders, wipe tears and chase off things that go bump in the night, but he still lends me his tools, helps me build things and helps my husband work on my car. And even though we don't play spaceman anymore and I'm all grown up, he's still my hero and I'm his biggest fan.
I love you Dad. Happy Father's Day and thanks for everything, especially sharing your time and John Lennon with me.