Today, my dad turns 79. No one would know, just looking at him, that he’s 79. He looks at least 15 years younger, and he acts it, too. The man still puts in full days at work, and he’s in construction, so it’s not a cushy desk job. My dad is an amazing man, a worthy hero. He’s not my birth father. He came into my life when I was a young teen. What makes him so remarkable is that he not only accepted stepchildren, but he never treated us like anything less than his own kids. He didn’t merely put up with raising us, he embraced it.
My dad taught me that men are supposed to work hard to support the ones they love, and play with them just as hard. That a man’s word should be inextricably tied to his honor. He’s a real man, a man’s man, a spiritual man, a man with true compassion who is moved by the plight of others. He’s a Korean war veteran who knows the meaning of service, both in the military and out. He’s strong enough to be firm when needed and yet a gentle and kind soul. He’s old school, yet always willing to try new things. He’s seen and done and experienced so very many things in nearly four score years of life, yet he’s an unassuming man who just goes about his business. He enjoys people and always has a ready handshake and a smile for friends old and new…because there are no strangers, just friends he hasn’t met yet. He loves his dog, his BYU sports teams, and tinkering in his yard.
I don’t call him dad because he expected it, or demanded it, or because he was a figurehead. He earned it. He put in the time, the work, the patience, the tears. He deserves it. My father died when I was four years old, so I claim the privilege of choosing my dad. I chose Frank. I will forever be grateful for his presence in my life. I am so incredibly blessed. Happy birthday, Dad! You really are the greatest!