He is the Superman to her Wonder Woman. He is the patriarch to her matriarch. And he is aging the way I want to age.
He's still energetic and learning every day. He...
Okay, gig's up. I struggle to write this. He's so good he's boring to write about. He's so steady, so predictable, so rock solid that I can barely bring myself to blather on about his perfections! The man continues to indulge his curiosity. He wanted to be a deacon at church but found out he needed a Bachelor's degree to do so. Was he deterred on his quest to give more to the church and expanding his mind though? No. He's taking classes on liturgical matters just for kicks.
Last year, at SEVENTY years old, he went on his first ever trail restoration trip. Granted, his 39 year-old daughter toted his tent and most of his clothes, but the man got it done! We hiked 6.5 miles in high elevation and he sucked up all the oxygen his sleep-apneaed self could and slept in a tent for five days. He swung a Pulaski, dug water bars, and hauled rocks with the men 20+ years younger. The man sucks it up.
He has taken on the project of rehabilitating my aunt, his sister-in-law, who suffered from a stroke two years ago. He drives 30 miles each day to her nursing home to get her out of bed and walk her and talk to her. She has improved more than thought possible. He takes Eucharist to the shut-ins and nursing home residents three times a week. He has a group of 85+ year old men, affectionately dubbed his "Geezer Group," who he weekly rounds up for breakfasts and flea markets.
You see, the man's a bleeding saint!
And he's always been that way. So good. So steady. So solid and reliably Christian. A communicator and people person.
Yet I don't take him seriously. Perhaps because of another of his best traits. The man can laugh at himself. He begs laughter and invites teasing. Even when he is taking himself too seriously, I have to laugh at him because there is passion in that too. He stomps and rages and tells his persecutors (read: my mom and me) in no uncertain terms that we are the problem. It is his passionate delivery that becomes a parody of anger and makes me giggle. He is always real, always readable, transparent in love and war.
That's my dad. And here, at last, is his ink. And a smile.