My Papa

It’s hard to know what to get your dad for Father’s Day. The typical gifts like a tie, a new drill, a mug with my picture on it… that doesn’t really do my dad justice. I think those gifts are great… but I always feel like I never REALLY tell him how great he is.

So, this post is about some things my dad taught me.

1. My dad taught me to be kind.

I remember when I was a little kid… okay, I probably wasn’t that little. I was like 10. We were getting ready to go on a trip of some sort; I think we were heading to visit my sister in Jordan Valley.

In any case, we were fueling up and my dad noticed an elderly gentleman at the pump next to us was having trouble with his Albertson’s Preferred Savings Card (did that sound like a plug, or what?). He didn’t quite know how to use it and was getting visibly frustrated and even a little embarrassed. Before I knew it, my dad was rushing over to the man to help him out.

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up; we weren’t “poor,” but like most people buying gas was helped out a lot with those Albertson’s Preferred Points. I even have some vague awareness of my dad telling me how many he had gotten and that he was excited to use them.

I don’t know what my dad said. I don’t know what the older man said.  All I know is I saw my dad reach in to his wallet, pull out his own Savings Card, and slide it for the man he didn’t know. He was careful to show the older man how to do it and when to do it, so that next time he wanted to use his card he would be able to do so. The older man shook my dad’s hand and walked away smiling. When my dad got back in to our pickup, all he said was “That’s what it means to be a Wylie.”

Maybe this isn’t as incredible as I think it is… but let me tell you. With that simple act, my dad taught me to be kind and selfless and serving to everyone, even people you don’t know.

2. My dad taught me to laugh.

Maybe it’s the Cook in us. Maybe it’s that we’re short so we have to make up for it by being funny. But I submit that my dad is the funniest man I have ever met. Probably the funniest person I’ve ever met. When I picture my dad, I picture laughing with him. He makes everyone laugh around him. My dad has such a warm, welcoming laugh and smile that invites everyone around him to join in the joke.

This is one of my very favorite things about my dad, that he is so funny. When he gets around his 5 siblings, it is an absolute riot. Everybody is throwing their heads back, their mouths are open, and they are howling with laughter.

My dad has taught me to laugh.

 3. My dad taught me to love sports.

If you know my dad, maybe this one will make you chuckle a little. For as long as I can remember, we’ve been a Melba sports family. My dad coached as I grew up, taught me to love watching sports, and taught me to pace and jump around when the competition gets intense. I remember when I was a little kid, I loved Michael Jordan because my dad loved Michael Jordan. I thought it was awesome that Muggsy Bogues was so short an NBA player, because my dad was a short basketball player (sorry, Dad).

Just about everybody in Melba was coached by my dad at one point or another, in one sport or another. Basketball, football, softball, baseball… my dad did it all. I love feeling the adrenaline of competition… even if I’m not that athletic. Yes, I was a cheerleader. And my dad still loves me.

My dad is the coolest guy I’ve ever met.

He taught me how to work hard. He taught me how to have fun. He taught me to love Alien and Predator. He taught me to chew cinnamon gum and drink Diet Pepsi and eat all your food. My dad taught me to be a best friend, and to serve others and care for them, and to love with your whole entire heart.

My dad is my hero, the funniest guy I’ve ever met, and the standard against which every other guy is judged. I love my dad so, so much. He is so great.

Happy Father’s Day, pops. I love you!

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