By Tim Kalinowski
I get along well with my dad. I don’t have daddy issues or unresolved conflicts stemming from my teenage years.
My dad is a normal guy. He’s friendly. He’s kindhearted. He loves to talk to anyone who will listen. He has a big booming voice and a laugh like a hyena yipping, which builds in volume the more he cackles with a “heeya, ya, ya, heeya, ya, ya.”
Trust me when I say a hyena is really the closest analogy to describe his indescribable laugh.
He’s six feet tall, but he has a much bigger personal presence. And when he walks he stomps with purpose. A trait I, incidentally, inherited from him alongside his loud, booming voice when I choose to use it.
My dad is also a handy guy with tools and household repairs. Plumbing, electrical, woodwork, welding, automotive, duct work— he really has the ability to take on any job and do it good enough. That’s my dad’s favourite expression after finishing a job: “It’s good enough.” What he means by this is it will hold together and work just fine, but it might not look the prettiest when he walks away from it.
My dad was raised in an era when hard, manual labour was still the norm for most jobs. His core strength is amazing. I am nearly 30 years younger and I know physically he is still stronger than I am. Although he now gets winded easier and takes longer to recover after hard, physical exertion. He also has a sweet tooth which has not always been kind to his spare tire factor.
I am the kind of person who likes to talk about the larger philosophical aspects of life: God, religion, morality, ethics, politics, the human condition and the broad panorama of the reality we see before us. My dad is always game for any such conversation; although he tends to eschew toward a staunch Catholic point of view in most discussions.
My dad believes in miracles and always taught me to believe in them as well. To trust that there is a higher purpose for all things.
Even when people seem intent on their own destruction, my dad believes there is a force in the universe that helps us rise into our better natures when the world is in most need.
He’s more optimistic than I am, frankly. But hope is seed, an ember in the heart. He taught me that.
My dad can mostly get along with anybody. He changes his conversational tone to meet whoever he is talking to on their level.
He stands out. He’s never afraid to put himself forward. He’s not easily embarrassed in public settings, (sometimes to my mother’s horror).
In summary, my father is big, clumsy, strong, goof of a guy with a firm moral centre and superior social skills. I have been very lucky to have him in my life for nearly 40 years. And I can honestly say my world would be a less hopeful and less colourful place without him in it.
Father’s Day may have been Sunday, but I try to appreciate my dad every day. As author Anne Geddes says:
“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”