My dad has always been a smart guy. And not just in the how-can-we-save-the-most-money-at-Wendy’s-by-ordering-one-combo-and-splitting-the-fries kind of way; he’s got book brains, too. And, as is the case, smart people attract smart people (which is why my friends all seem brilliant!). So, when dad spent his time at THE Ohio State University, he roomed with some smart fellas as well. Now, for those of you who have met Steve, you might not have guessed this. But Steve and Dan, his roomies for 4 years, went on to very successful business careers with big companies. Dad says, “they did alright for themselves.”
Dad, on the other hand, returned to the farm, sowing beans and selling a few houses. No big city skyscrapers or relocation to packages for him. He did well, if you ask me, but he definately didn’t pick a career that required a large wardrobe of suits. I’m not sure of his actual feelings on his life, but I’d have to guess that at some point in his life, he asked himself if he missed out on something by returning home to the simple Hardin County life. I’ve wondered, in their annual roommate reunions, if dad had any jealousy over their ability to pick a classy wine or talk about their multiple (seasonal) houses and vacation packages to Vail.
Then dad told me of a recent trip to see Dan at their “winter home” in Florida. Apparently Dan has quite the nifty fishing boat, with all kinds of depth- and fish-finding gadgets, so he has taken up the hobby and spends several days out on the water with his own father. So Dan took dad for a ride and they even caught a few on a recent trip (they also brought them home and ate them and dad was quite impressed with the results).
While out on the boat, dad complimented Dan on how his life ended up; he told Dan, “I hope you realize just how lucky you have it.” Dan looked around the gadget-y boat and back to the luxury home and agreed, “You know, it is pretty good.” But dad explained, “The fact that you get to come out here with your dad and fish whenever you want. I hope you know just how lucky you are. I’d give anything to be able to spend that kind of time with my dad again.”
And that’s when I knew my dad really did live the life he wanted. I’m sure the paycheck could’ve been bigger with a corporate finance career, but my dad knew that true riches were found in a man’s home. And he has blessed many of us with a much richer life with his humor, wisdom and love.
This father’s day I’m going to spend it out on the boat with my father. We probably won’t be fishing – though we may go to a restaurant that serves fish. Even if he can’t spend that time with his father, I know that I can spend time with mine. And so I will. Not just on Fathers day, but as often as possible.