Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!
Many people have an understanding of the idea that, “It takes more than blood to make a family”, and that, “It takes a real man to be a Dad.” These statements couldn’t be any truer. I’m a prime example of them. You see, I know who my real, biological father is. I haven’t seen him since I was 11 years old, so I honestly don’t know if he is dead or alive…but I kind of don’t care. You can’t miss what you don’t have, right? It’s always been just me, my mom, and my two biological sisters my whole life…until we moved to from New Jersey to Reidsville, GA. It’s in a small town of approximately 2,000 that I learned what it was to have not just a father, but a Dad.
If you have ever read any of my past blog posts, than you will know the situations in life that happened to me and my sisters…and what we come from. You will also come to know that I have been amazingly blessed to have com across so many amazing people that have affected my life, most importantly: The Eason Family. They had become not just my second family, but they had become my blood. Our family was created out the clay of the Georgia roads. These roads are what I know as home and heart.
When I was taken into the family, I honestly didn’t know what I was in store for. I didn’t know all of the learning lessons in life I would learn in a double wide trailer, where the 5 of us would fight over shower time, who would ride with Dad into to town to get some Smith’s Fried Chicken and their ever addicting sweet tea, or to go to Hill’s Shopping Center to get some groceries and snag an ice cold Dr. Pepper (all the while with each of us promising Daddy that we wouldn’t snitch on him in getting us our sugary carbonated beverage), or even to help dad work on the station wagon, Old blue (The Smurf Mobile), and white Ford pick up truck that was battered with the love of the Georgia dirt roads and weather. You see…he made time for all us.
My Daddy is a super simple man. He could live off of Fried Bologna sandwiches with ketchup, sweet tea, camping on the river and having a cat fish fry with Mama’s corn dodgers, raising his chickens, growing hot peppers, and making his infamous smoked pork shoulder (something that only he has mastered, and I’ve not had any better from any place in this world).
When I met Daddy, he knew he was in for a challenge. I had no idea of what the hell I was doing, and I never really understood what he meant (at the time) of getting my ducks in a row. Whenever I would make a mistake, he would hold up an imaginary shot got (with full sound effects of “pew pew pew”). That would my Dad shooting my ducks out of place, “Son…you better get your ducks in a row!” Also, I was a books smart kinda kid. I had no clue in what I was doing in “real life” of southern “common sense.” They would all make fun of me for having no common sense. I would simply snap back and say, “It can’t be common sense, if I don’t have any previous exposure or knowledge of that fact.” Yeah, I know…it’s a book smart answer. It would piss me off so much, that I would be off to find out what this common sense thing was. Little did I know that my Dad was trying to teach it to me. My dad put me under his wing (unbeknownst to me), and was giving me the “Common Sense of the South.” He taught me how to properly fish, find the right wood he used for his smoked pork shoulder, appreciate old western shows, how to enjoy older country music (real country music), how to change my oil, break pads, drop a motor, change and grease my CV joints & universal joint (I know Stacey & GiGi still remember this one, even though Stacey did all of the work), how to not be afraid to get my hands dirty and just enjoy life in the comfort of a wooden swing under the shade of the pine trees. Whenever us kids were out of school, he would take us to his job at the landfill (mostly me and Phillip, my brother). We actually loved it because we would find some of the coolest stuff ever out there, though I know he loved us finding a ton of weed whacker string.
When I wanted to get my G.E.D. and go to college, my Dad was right there pushing me forward to do it. He would say, “Son…you can do this. Get yer damn ducks in a row son and go!” He was always there to give us the strong hand of correction and encouragement. He saw no difference that I wasn’t his biological son. He loved me as his own. He LOVES me as his own.
It was during this time that I also came out as being Gay, but as a Dad…he already knew. I was going through a pretty screwed up stage and did some pretty stupid things…almost to the point of having a mental break. I screwed up. What did my Dad do? He reminded that I made mistakes, and had to fix them. He reminded me that he loved me…and that wasn’t going to change. It took a few years, but I healed wounds the best that I could. My Dad isn’t a very big man on using a ton of words, and isn’t alway verbally affectionate. You can take it to the bank, when he says he loves you…he loves you, and needed you to know this.
You know, nothing shows more fatherly love than when he’s sitting on the front porch with his favorite shot gun “cleaning” it while you’re pulling up into the front yard with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I remember when my Daddy did that to my sisters. All I could was laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. It was just too priceless to me. I finally found someone suitable I wanted to date and we finally declared ourselves as boyfriends. It was time to bring him home and meet the family. I remember pulling into our U shaped driveway and noticed my two sisters (Gigi and Stacey) peeking around the corner pointing to the front porch while giggling and laughing away. There he sat…my Dad…with his shotgun…”cleaning” it. I died. My eyes widened so much I thought hat they were going to pop out of my head. I started laughing hysterically. My boyfriend looked at me like a crazy man, and asked what was so funny. I simply pointed to my Dad and said, “It’s time to meet my Dad.” I thought I was going to have to make him take a shower for doing a #2 in his pants. I finally composed myself enough for us to exit the car and take that long walk (approximately 30 feet) to the front porch steps. “Hey Daddy!”, “Hey son”, he replied back with that look on his face. My Daddy looked at my boyfriend while “cleaning” his gun and said, “Well, who are you son? Speak up. What are your intentions with my son?” My stomach hurt so much from laughing…I had to leave him there with my Dad and go run after my sisters behind the trailer. I remember telling them that they were a bunch of asses, and then we all laughed some more.
It was from that point that I knew how much my Dad loved me. I was, and am, his son.
I love you Daddy. I could not have asked for a more perfect father than you. We don’t get to choose what family we are born with by blood, but we are given the blessings of family from a God that knows we need. You are an amazing man, and you have taught me what it is to truly be a man.
Oh yeah, I guess I should explain the photo of my Dad. You see, he would do random things to get a smile. So, he decided to put on my niece’s wig (Hannah). That’s my Dad…one random man full of love.