Dad, I love you. You’re the best.
*Update: well, due to a not really dramatic at all turn of events, I ended up not reading/saying this at Dad’s party last night. But it was still a lovely party, and I sang some early music with my father’s old music group. And I printed up said speech for Father to read, so he’ll get to see it.
Let’s be honest, I probably would have cried. 🙂
I need to write a speech for my father’s retirement party next week. It’s on Tuesday. I have nothing prepared so far. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to thank people, or tell an anecdote, or talk about his beard, but I’m completely lost. My father is the biggest role model I have, or probably will ever have in my life. So you can understand that I do not want to fuck this up.
“You’re a great writer, bunso.” My mother tells me. “You can do it. It will be fine.”
But the last time I gave a public speech was on the deliciousness of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in a public speaking class – I talked too fast and didn’t bring any frozen custard in to share. I got an A- on the speech and an F on sharing custard.
What exactly does one talk about when their father retires?
I remember the speech my father told at my grandfather’s memorial service. It was a story about camping with his family when he was a kid. It rained, he told us, the entire trip. And when it stopped raining, and the skies opened up, he said that my grandfather pointed up to the sky and proclaimed “BLUE SKIES!” I can picture my father in the church, telling this story, pointing to the ceiling and picturing that blue sky. I can picture my grandfather, way before my time on earth, standing in this weather and pointing to the sky.
That story made an impact.
I want to make an impact.
When most kids are 11, families take normal vacations. Cottages up north, Disneyland, the Outer banks. Beaches, or resorts, or other family photogenic moments.
When I was 11, my family took our first family bike trip.
200 some odd miles in a week and a half, across Door County, Wisconsin.
As you might know, my father has been a life long bicyclist. Maybe you’ve seen him biking home from Holland, his pants tucked into his socks, because knickers are cool and pants caught in bicycle chains are not.
The last day of the trip, it rained. I was small, and 11, and complained a lot, so it wasn’t easy for me, which probably made it more difficult for the rest of the family. But that day was the last day of our trip, meaning we had to get to where we needed to be.
We had three flat tires.
We biked sixty miles.
We made it to our destination, wet, tired, discouraged. I vaguely remember stopping at a restaurant for dinner and having a bowl of clam chowder put in front of me. I may have dozed off into the soup.
I remember very clearly through my haze of tired muscles and muddy clothes, my father and my mother talking.
My mother was telling my father that we were lucky we made it, that the kids were ready to fall over, that it’s a good thing we didn’t miss this boat.
To which my father, who was in much better spirits than the rest of us, replied, “But we made it, and what a journey it was getting here!”
Congratulations, Dad, on your retirement. You made it, and what a journey it was getting here!
Posted on April 19, 2013, in DNA and other bonding things. Like Blood., Words and Phrases and tagged family, Father, Frozen custard, Public Speaking, Retirement, Speech, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Wisconsin. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.