Bryan’s Song

A letter to dad for Father’s Day

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By Bryan Gallegos

Hello, Dad.

I know it’s only been a week since we got together for your birthday in New Mexico. I had a great time visiting. We need to get together more often. I know we’re all busy in our own lives, but we have to make time for family.

Anyway, I just want to wish you a happy Father’s Day. It’s Sunday.

Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. The first observance of a Father’s Day was held in 1908. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers occurred in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Richard Nixon made the day a permanent national holiday when he signed it into law in 1972.

That’s an important day because it’s designed to show just how important guys like you are. It symbolizes strength, character, commitment, and above all, love.

Yeah, yeah, I know, kind of corn ball, but it’s true. Guys like you make it easy for guys like me. You set a great example. You worked hard to make things easier for me. And you did so without expecting any special recognition for it.

I wouldn’t be the man I am today if you had not showed me the way. Sometimes it took some hard love to get your point across. You were definitely an old-school guy who believed in the motto “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” I definitely wasn’t spoiled.

You taught me how to strive to be the best, but be humble in the process. You showed me how to work hard, be confident and be humble in the process.

You taught me how to carry myself with class and be humble in the process. You taught me to be truthful and respectful.

No man, you said, is greater than another. Some may have more money, but success doesn’t always equate money. You said, you measure success by what is in a man’s soul.

I remember one time in Little League when you took a home run away from me after I had embarrassed the other team. It was my first home run, and I hit it good. I pranced around the bases with a goofball grin, gloating and showboating and winking and taunting the other team.

But before I reached second base, you called time and talked to the umpire and the other team’s coach. You told him that we were forfeiting the home run and instead settling for a single. I couldn’t believe it. How could you do this to me? How could you embarrass me like that in front of all those people?

Your message: You don’t have to embarrass somebody to enjoy your success.

There was another time when I promised a neighbor I would mow his lawn. I agreed to do it because it was fun using his riding mower. It was a big lawn, but with that riding mower, I could have the job done in a fun-filled hour.

But the day before I was to mow the lawn, something happened to the mower and I couldn’t use it. My neighbor said he was sorry but that had self-propelled push mower I could use.

I told him I didn’t want to do it without the riding mower. I gave him all the excuses in the world as to why I wasn’t going to do the job. And then I went to the movies with my buddies.

When I got home, you were waiting. I’ll never forget the look on your face. And your words were biting.

“Son, I’m disappointed in you. You gave your word and you didn’t follow through. That is not acceptable.”

You made me apologize to our neighbor. And then you made me mow his lawn – with our old fashioned non-motorized push mower. It didn’t have a motor. It didn’t have a grass catcher and the blades were a little dull. And after I mowed it, I had to rake the clippings and bag them because it didn’t have a grass catcher. It took me about five hours, and with each push, I grew more angry.

But then I got it.

Your message: A man’s word defines his character.

I remember watching shows like “Little House on the Prairie,” “Bonanza,” and “Leave It to Beaver.” They had strong father figures, and they all reminded me of you.

I love you, Dad. I hope you have a great “Father’s Day,” Dad.

Bryan


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