Happy Father’s Day to Nick, to Dave, and to my grandfather. These are all men who are pretty good to damn good fathers, and who I look up to.

I’ve spent the last 2 Mother’s days, since my mother passed away suddenly, in mourning. Also celebrating the day for my wife, the best mother I know. It’s been a strange juxtaposition, but one I’m walking alright. It’ll get better with time, I’m sure.

Father’s day has never been a day of mourning, nor one of celebration. My dad left very early in our lives, too young and age to reflect on not having a father for father’s day. By the time I started thinking about such larger life issues, I realized him leaving was easily the best thing for my family, and found no reason to have issue with not having a father.

Of course, I really did have a father. Or a father figure anyway, someone to look up to and watch and learn how to be a man. He was a very quiet man in the heat of the moment, but seemed wise when he finally spoke up to calm everyone down. He certainly wasn’t big into discipline, spanking or scolding me only once that I can remember.

One of my strongest memories is him doing the bills every month, using some weird mechanical counter/calculator thing. At the time was the most wonderful futuristic device I had seen; now it’s a quaint relic. But I bet he still uses it. It wasn’t the paying the bills that stuck with me, it was their delivery. They used to live close to downtown, and he and I would walk around to deliver the bills by hand, paying the gas company, the phone, the electricity, even the mechanic. Except I don’t think we really paid the mechanic as much as just paid a visit and had something to drink.

As we walked around town, me all of 4 or 5, my grandpa seemed like the tallest and strongest man around. And easily the most popular. Everywhere we went, people waved and said hi. Certainly because of him, and a little bit because that was the kind of time when you said hi to passers by.

I don’t really remember every having any big “talks” with my grandpa. Certainly never the father-son kinds of talks you think of when you think of such things. He never even taught me to tie a tie, I’m not entirely sure he ever knew himself. I still chuckle remembering the day I really needed a tie tied, and he was at work. So I went up to his closet and there were a dozen ties, already tied. Some of them had been that way for longer than I had been around, easily.

What he did teach me was just how to be, how to act, and how to be a good person. He was the epitome of a role model, someone to learn from just by watching. So thank you, grandpa, for teaching me to be the man and father I am today.