Happy Father’s Day to my dad Tony, who is truly one of a kind. (Many will chime in here to agree, I’m sure.)
He can get pretty crazy (there’s a reason he’s been called ‘Wild T’ and the nickname stuck), and as mom says, “He’s often a pain, but never a bore.” He has always kept things very lively and unpredictable. When I was an infant and dad would walk into the room, my entire face would light up with excitement. Apparently I was a very smart kid, because I was certainly never disappointed.
Dad’s convinced me of some pretty important things over the years. Here are just a few:
1. No matter how buttoned up you are naturally, you must shake things up once in a while. When people expect you to show up in a sweater set and matching socks, shock them by walking in wearing desert boots, levi’s, and a western belt. (Believe me, friends: At a Canadian high school in the 80s, this was not a common sight.)
2. Passion and guts are important. Even if you look like a fool once in a while, you have to “go big or go home,” especially when it’s for something you really believe in. For example: When sharing your faith through a dramatic parade float, protesting in an extra large bunny suit by the side of the road, or leading the cheerleaders at your son’s football game.
3. There is absolutely no reason why you have to stay where you are when you can go somewhere else and be somebody completely different. You can do anything: Live in a foreign country, learn a new language, promote a concert, make a difference in people’s lives. You are too exceptional to sit around living a predictable life.
4. It’s completely reasonable to want your surroundings to be fabulous. When writing a letter by hand, or copying one’s sermon notes, only the best quality fountain pen will do. If you want to paint on a pretty day, nothing short of a plein air setup suffices. If you don’t have the money for a trip to Italy, have crusty bread, imported cheese and sparkling juice in your dining room, with Andrea Bocelli singing loudly in the background.
5. You will meet someone who will love you enough to merit your love. But it might take a while to meet someone of that caliber, and you certainly won’t meet him here in your high school. So don’t put up with any old schmo.
6. You can make it through these really dark days. Jesus has a plan for your life. You will not always feel like this. My dad went through some pretty rough stuff, and he was willing to share that with me when I badly needed some perspective. He was right, by the way.
Between his big ideas and “big nights,” simultaneous careers in advertising and church planting, strong opinions yet weak bowling scores, extensive travels, embarrassing moments and classic catch phrases (i.e. “I’ll do ___________ so fast, it’ll make your head spin,” and “I’m increasing in confidence daily,”), my dad’s antics could easily fill a book. Perhaps I will write one someday.
In the meantime, Happy Father’s Day, Wild T.
Ti amo molto, papa. Mille grazie.
p.s. Dad creates beautiful art and does commissioned pieces. To see more of his portraits, photographs and paintings, visit his Flickr site here.