Thursday, March 11, 2010

Everybody Loves Chuck

I've attempted to write this post on March 11 every year since I started this blog. Hopefully this will be the year that it actually makes it out the gate for you to read.

This is a post about my Daddy. Because today is his birthday.

My dad was born in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. He grew up in California, then moved to our small Utah hometown when he was 15 (white t-shirt, black leather jacket and all). He met my mom that year. He likes to tell the story about seeing her picture before he met her and thinking she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen.

He has worked as a diesel mechanic, at the salt plant near the Great Salt Lake, at an auto supply store and at his current job. I have no idea what his job title is now, but the work he does is really cool -- helping to build and keep running efficiently munitions incinerators all over the world.

He's a fixer. And engineer without the degree and the book-learning that gets in the way of the common sense. He's funny and kind and a phenomenal grandpa.

There's a scripture that always reminds me of my dad.

"We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

My dad has this amazing quality of effortlessly loving other people and making them feel comfortable. Hence the title. Everybody loves Chuck, because Chuck loves everybody.

His isn't a visiting-teacher-relief-society-president kind of love. The gooey, cheesy, can-i-bring-you-a-casserole kind of love.

It's the pat-you-on-the-back, make-up-funny-names-for-you, tease-you-relentlessly and put-you-at-ease kind of love.

It's also love in action.

A few years ago, I went to my parents' house to have my dad help me fix our car and teach me how to change the oil. He did, of course. But the whole time I was there, he was also helping a young man who lived in his ward. This man's wife was being treated for cancer, he was depressed and struggling quite a bit. So, with his typical, home-spun kindness, my dad took him under his wing. He came over to his garage many times during that period in his life to fix his cars. While I was there, he helped my dad and I with my van. I have a feeling that there was much more mended at that time than engines.

This is typical of my dad. His heart and his garage are very similar places. There's always room for everyone. There's always someone or something there, being mended, being made better. There's always quite a motley assortment of tools (or people) that my dad knows just how to make feel useful, important and worthwhile.

He was a dad who played with me and that is priceless. He helped me with valentine boxes and science projects. He taught me to hit and catch a softball. He flew kites with me. He shares my love of Thoreau and loves me for my march to a different drummer. He marches to the beat of a different drummer too. He and I are kindred spirits. I have lots of poems to write about him, but they never seem to come out right.

Dad, I'm so glad you were born. I'm so glad you're mine. Happy birthday!

{pictures hopefully coming soon, but seriously, it's been yeaaaaars. i have to get this posted.}


Val'n'Ben said...

"workin" Wow, what an appropriate word verification for a post and comment about our dad!

I'm glad you finally posted this, I've wanted to write a post about our mom and feel the same way, that the words just never seem to come out right. Words just don't seem good enough to describe how I feel about our wonderful parents or how they make me feel.

How lucky are we?

Trishelle said...

Thank you for posting this! Your daddy really is one of the greatest men I know. Chris and I love him like we love our other uncles.

One of the first things I remember noticing about him is the sparkle and kindness in his eyes. Upon first introduction to your father, one knows he/she will be safe with him.

Jeff and Jessie said...

Of course, we have loved your dad since day one! Especially when he gave us nicknames, that made us feel like one of his! He surely has that charm!

AFarCryFromNormal said...