Mike

Mike has been a great father in so many ways. Like all the men in my family (and most other families, I assume), Mike and I do not outwardly express our emotions to one another quite like we should. But behind every phone call or thing we do for each other, we know it's there... unspoken on our lips, but residing in our hearts. It's love.

Mike has been doing the same job for 27 years now. That's right, for my entire life, he has been doing the same thing and keeps on. I'm amazed how he has kept it together after all these years, especially since the company was bought out and the new owners could care less about running the business. He has to put up with a lot. But he keeps on. That shows patience and duty. He could have moved up but didn't want to. He likes his personal life outside of work too much. I inherited that from Pops.

Yeah, I call him Pops. Not sure where the name came from, but one day I called him that and it stuck. It's my term of affection for him. He even signs his emails with it now : )

When I was younger, he built a model train set for me. It was on a wood platform that was 6' x 8' or so. HO scale, of course. There was a tunnel, a general store, a lumber yard, gas station, a few houses. He would take me to the model railroad shows at the convention center each year and I'd marvel at the elaborate landscapes, the finest details, and the criss-cross of track with trains buzzing in every direction, on phantom collision courses. I was always proud of our modest set up.

He is the handiest handyman. He has remodeled just about every room in his house, helped me install countless things around my house, and built two telescopes. And we're talking telescopes that are 7-8 feet long. They were quite impressive! He knows a lot about astronomy and photography and has taught me a little about both. One evening we were outside during the lunar eclipse taking pictures. I made one of the photos into a gift for him.

Mike took well to my announcement of being gay. I think my stepmother had "prepped" him because she seemed to know for a while. I wasn't sure how he would respond, but he was calm and told me it was going to be okay. He's been able to be open about it with me, which is a comfort. We'll see how things shake out once I start dating someone and it becomes more real.

Mike took care of my stepmother while she battled Multiple Sclerosis. She was bed-ridden for 8 years, and in that time, he worked full time, did all the chores, and cared for Darlene. It was very hard on him... harder than I'll ever know. I tried to help when I was back home, but somehow I think I could have done more. I know he misses her still, even though part of him knows she is in the better place with no more pain. I miss her too.

I know he wouldn't think it so, but he was a role model during that time. Sure he lost his cool at times, but he's only human. He sacrificed a lot because he loved Darlene. Fortunately, he has been able to do things he was unable to do for all those years. Like take up golf, get back to photography, go to star parties, and hang out at the bookstore.

I feel like I am a 50/50 split of Mike and Vicki. I share so many traits and tendencies from both parents. From Mike, I inherited my introverted side and my temper. We share interests in science fiction, photography, being practical, and keeping things simple.

So here's to you, Pops! For all you have been and done for me, I am grateful.

3 comments:

Allie D. said...

Chris,

What a great tribute to your dad. This is the first time I've ever seen a picture of him, and it's amazing how much of him I see in you. You were right about the 50/50 split. :) I can relate myself.

Frisbee Girl said...

Wonderful, Chris. Truly wonderful.

Frisbee Girl said...

Wonderful, Chris. Truly wonderful.