Because of my father, I was able to enjoy a life that most could only dream of. I think when I was a teen, I really took everything for granted. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that my life was not the same as most other people. However, I think my immaturity smothered my feelings like an old dirty blanket.
After I really became removed from surfing contests, I started to gain a deeper understanding of how lucky I was. First off, I was born and raised in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Through my father’s persistence and due to his high-standards of performance that he set for himself, our family enjoyed a lifestyle that did not mirror the masses of people who worked for the military. For a short time in my early childhood, we moved to Virginia. However, after a few years, my father had once again landed us back on Oahu where he would eventually retire.
When I was a senior in high school, my friend had an opportunity to take me on a surf trip to Abaco Island in the Bahamas. I had turned 18 and in those days passports were not a necessity. My parents concocted a tale of a death in the family and before I knew it, my friend and I were going through customs and we were off on a surf trip to a foreign country. In case you did not get it, it was just me and my friend. I love my son and I love surfing but I would have to think long and hard before I signed aboard for something like that.
In my family as I grew older, holidays were an odd experience. Typically the holiday started or ended the same as any holiday would. However, sandwiched in this day was normally a surf contest. So my holidays were often centered around myself surfing heats and my father on the microphone commentating. If he was not commentating, he was there ensuring that I was resting and staying hydrated. If it was a big event, my father would come home with lots of shirts and other contest related gear and he would give us the shirts and extra shirts for our friends. My closet was trove of contest shirts and I am sure my friends benefited as well. Now, the site of a shirt with an airbrushed wave and 50 sponsor logos plastered on it just about makes me want to run for the closest trash can!
Now, as I write this, Father’s Day is looming on the horizon. I will go through this day as a father to my wonderful son and I will also be thinking of my father who has passed away almost three years ago. I hope one day my son will read this and I hope this gives him an insight into his grandfather and how great he was.
Now, looking back into my teen age years and scanning forward up to his final months, I can see why he succeeded in a way that most can not. My father was not as rich as Donald Trump. If he met Donald Trump, I am sure he and Donald would be drinking a beer and Donald would be pouring his heart out to him. Even though my father had the exterior of a Colonel that had spent to many tours of duty in Viet Nam, he had two things that are lacking and sorely missed in this world today. The first is generosity and the second is action.
Today I see what I call Facebook Herocism. There are many people posting happy quotes about trying your best and changing your life. Yet, when people post about real problems, the replies are short. The food pantries are desperate and donations are low. When someone is in need of a job, it becomes to difficult to stop by H.R. on the way back from lunch to recommend a friend. Sure your words make you appear better but to someone in need of help, your words will not fill their stomachs.
My father spent many afternoons building computers. He noticed that the cadets at his local organization were struggling using an old archaic computer. Then one day he presented them with the newer one. Actions like this have earned my father a pavilion dedicated in his memory…and job assignments that many never received, and the respect of many people. Seeing my father in action was perhaps one of the greatest gifts he could have given me because it gave me a benchmark. There are millions of mediocre people in this world who can talk a great game but can hardly deliver. I was blessed to live my life with a person who could.
Thanks for the many gifts dad and Happy Fathers’ Day!