My Two Favorite Men

Dad & I Snowmobiling

1980 – Dad & I snowmobiling

I have fond childhood memories of my dad. He works hard and plays the same way. The construction business he started with his brother, Harold, before I was born gave me the opportunity to learn how to work at a young age. Dad sometimes took me to work with him and it was a joy to sit between his legs or at his side while he operated the backhoe, which was a lot more fun than spraying water on the construction site to keep the dust under control. The highlight at the end of the day was the ride he’d give me in the bucket. In my teenage years I learned bookkeeping from him as I worked by his side doing billing, cost accounting and payroll for the employees. However, dad didn’t just teach me how to work, he also taught me to enjoy the mountains and lakes around us with hiking, boating and snowmobiling.  If I were asked to choose a favorite out of all my wonderful memories, it would be of our horseback riding adventures when it was just Dad and I, one on one, having a good time together.

One of Dad’s best traits is his patience. He never makes me feel foolish when I do thoughtless stuff. When I’ve made mistakes, he concentrates on the solution, not the error and he’s helped me overcome some doozies. I’m sure he can fix anything and go to him often with a problem. He is wise and loves people, especially me, unconditionally. He knows just what to say and when to just listen. He builds my self-esteem by making me feel like I can accomplish anything and with his help, I can.

Dad and Mark

1980’s – Dad and Mark boating

I love this picture, not only because it’s two of the best men I know, but I see and feel the adoration and enjoyment they have for one another. I am so fortunate because my two favorite men love each other. My folks always refer to their in-law children as bonus children. I must say and believe they would agree they won the jackpot when I married Mark.

I appreciate the wonderful father Mark is to our two children. He has taught them all the important things in life, but has taught them in a much different way than most fathers do. Some quotes from our daughter’s written story, Dad Creating Beauty After Tragedy:

“The scene of my life drastically changed, after the car accident, and so had my dad’s. But like Bob Ross transforming a dark and ugly line of paint into a ‘happy little tree,’ I saw my dad use his tragic and life-changing disturbance to create a new kind of beauty.

He taught me the value of perseverance as he pushed through strenuous therapy. He learned to feed himself and speak again. He liked to say P.T. (physical therapy) really stood for ‘pain and torture.’

1992 – Mark kissing Katie. His ability to wrap arms around her came months later.

He showed me how burdens can be lightened by having a sense of humor. He often told people the scar on his stomach from the feeding tube he had was really a second bellybutton, which made him ‘twice the man.’

My dad (who wasn’t expected to live) not only survived, but thrives with a positive attitude. I’m blessed to call him Dad.”

Other quotes from Katie’s written story, Part II:

“After I had been married for about a year, my parents met me for lunch at a restaurant. We were quietly eating when I looked around the crowded room and realized my dad was the only person there in a wheelchair. I wondered if that ever bothered him. My thoughts were interrupted when my dad sat up in his chair with a big smile on his face and declared, “I’m the luckiest guy here!”

‘Why?’ I asked.

He replied, ‘Because I’m sitting next to the two most beautiful women in this room.’ Dad’s so busy looking for the good in every situation he doesn’t have time to notice the bad.

DadAndMe 2013

2013 – Katie & Mark

My dad has taught me the keys to happiness through his example. He chooses to be happy by having a sense of humor, being productive, forgiving, grateful and maintaining hope. My dad once said, ‘Adversity is the exercise that strengthens the muscle of character.’ I think my dad’s muscle of character has Hercules strength.”

One of Mark’s favorite childhood memories is the “way boss” swing his dad built for him when he was a kid. He built a beam between two trees about 30 feet off the ground. A rope was tied to the middle of the beam, creating the swing. Since his dad was a carpenter, at the bottom of the rope was a seat made from a gunny sack filled with sawdust. His father also built a ramp next to the swing so he could carry the swing up the ramp and jump off the top. Other fond memories are the clam digging adventures he went on with his dad and the wonderful home he took three years to build, working after his regular work hours.

Dads have a huge impact in our lives, whether they realize it or not. Hopefully, on this day your dad and mine will know how much we appreciate all the good they have done for us.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful men out there loving and caring for others!

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