A child has no greater hero than their father. He’s a superhero in real life. You see his feats up close. He teaches many things, but never reveals all of his super powers. In the eyes of a child, there is nothing your dad can’t do. As you get older you begin to learn that those superpowers aren’t so powerful…but they’re still super.
I lost my father unexpectedly last week.
He’d been in relative good health and making plans for the future. He was the type of guy who thought he’d live to 100. Active, engaged, smart. An accountant by trade and a jack of all others to one degree or another. A college educated Army paratrooper. A high school jock with a chest full of trophies. A handyman with a white collar job. The kind of guy who, if you were friends with me or my sister, you had a second father. He was selfless and giving.
He was the type of guy who loved to research and plan. The internet was a wonderland for him. We were the first people in my neighborhood to get the internet in the early 90’s thanks to Prodigy, then later AOL. My friends would flood our house to jump online and hear “You’ve got mail!” or hop in a chat room and get silly. But, dad was always using it in his own way. As the ‘net evolved, my dad began to tinker with it in expanded ways. Ahead of his time. By present day, he had it down to a mad science. If you wanted to buy a drill or a new appliance…he would research it down to the type of wires inside.
So, it should of come as no surprise that he had researched and planned his funeral in much the same manner. After my grandmother passed away a couple years ago and hadn’t done any planning, leaving it up to us…he’d set out to not put my sister and me through that. So, he got busy and tailored his arrangements as finely as he did his favorite recipe.
When we met with the funeral director, it was merely a formality. He had already planned every facet of his service. He’d chosen 8 of my friends as pallbearers because they each meant something to him in some way. Of course, he thought we’d all be in our 50’s and 60’s by the time this took place. The director reviewed the casket and vault selections he’d made with us and I had to chuckle when she said he bartered with her over the cost. He had researched it and knew he could get it cheaper from a place in Teague…and let her know that.
Of the many things my dad handed down to me, appreciation of music was one of the most vital. He didn’t sing. He couldn’t play guitar. He didn’t go to a lot of concerts. But, music was central to his being. He loved the music of his youth and classic country music. With the advent of smartphones, he took to jamming his finely tuned Pandora stations from his shirt pocket just about everywhere he went. He’d tell me “All the music today sounds the same. It’s not real.” He was right yet again.
So, it also came as no surprise that he’d already chosen the music for his service. Alan Jackson’s version of “In the Garden”, Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline’s version of “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and George Strait’s “You’ll Be There” despite our misgivings at the lyric “…if I make it.” We chose to include Holly Dunn’s “Daddy’s Hands” in the service. He would have understood.
Being that he carried his favorite music with him wherever he went, I wanted to avoid the elevator type music they normally play at these events during the visitation and seating etc. I chose to make a custom playlist for my dad to jam one last time. Things that were personal to me or my sister…or just felt right. Things he would dig. Things he, and anyone, could describe as “real”.
Josh Grider’s “Shotgun”; Cory Morrow’s “Just Like You”; Walt Wilkins “Someone Somewhere Tonight”; Conway Twitty’s “That’s My Job”; Dierks Bentley’s “My Last Name”; Alan Jackson’s “Drive”; Wade Bowen’s version of “To Live Is To Fly”; Ricky Van Shelton’s “Keep It Between the Lines” and Adam Hood’s “He Did”.
Each of those touched a different emotion for a different reason.
A dad never loses those superpowers I talked about at the top of this. They just change. They evolve. They live in our hearts and memories. They live in the lessons he taught. The things and people he loved. My father’s earthly time may have come to an end…but his superpowers live on. I think of him when I work on something. I’ll remember him a lot during football season. I’ll hear him at a baseball game. I’ll hear him talking to me as a co-pilot on a roadtrip. I see him in my kids. And I’ll remember him when I hear real music. A super life for a super dad full of super powers. A real superhero is never forgotten. A real superhero never leaves. A real superhero is powerful.
A real superhero was my dad.
“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.”
-These will be brief this month.
-Football season is finally here. Hallelujah.
-Unfortunately that means the hottest temps of the season are as well. We’ll make it. I’ve found the best cure to be ice cream.
-True Detective Season 2 was a big, complex, overly thought mess. Here’s to hoping Season 3 goes better.
-I really want to see the Straight Outta Compton film. NWA was a pivotal part of my youth. The growth of hip-hop may have started in the streets…but it was suburban, middle-class white kids like me that took it next level.
-This month’s recommended album: Pat Green – Home. Welcome home, PG. We’ve been waiting on you. Some of us may have gotten discouraged a time or two…but we knew you’d find your way back. And this proves it. Thank you for everything.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain