My dad would've been oh, about 84 years old if he were still alive. That sounds really old, but in my mind, my Dad is always about 50. He passed away in 2000 and he was 74 (obviously, because you can do the math). The last few years of his life, he had a form of Parkinson's disease called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. He didn't have the shakes that are typical of Parkinson's, but he just seemed to freeze up. His joints didn't work so well, and he had no balance. Sometimes he would just fall over backwards. At the very end, he couldn't swallow without choking, and he couldn't talk. His face also seemed to freeze so that he had no expression at all. No smiles, nothing. But that's not how I remember my dad. Like I said, I remember him when he was about 50.
He could fix just about any car (until they got computers in them) and saved our family bunches of money, I'm sure. I am amazed at how he could read a car fix-it manual while sitting in the house, and then go out and fix the car. Me, I'd have to have the book open in front of me while I work so that I could see corresponding pictures. He was just a generally handy guy. He built an addition on to our house, before I was born, that about doubled the square footage.
He also had big ideas. We used to make fun of him for these ideas because most of them seemed really far-fetched and unworkable. But he tried anyway. I remember one fall day, the whole family was out raking the yard. My dad had a brilliant idea that would save us all a lot of time and effort. I don't quite remember his idea exactly, but I do remember that he abandoned the leaf raking and ran to the hardware store to buy supplies for this invention. By the time he had returned, we were all done raking. I guess that is kind of brilliant, when you think about it.
My dad wasn't the kind of dad that showed up to every activity I was in. He absolutely detested parades (I think that was inherited by me) and didn't particularly like sports, except golf. But I still knew that he loved me and that he was proud of me. I can't tell you how many times he fixed something for me, or transported me somewhere, or saw to it that I had oil in my car. I can't tell you, because I'm sure I don't even know all of the times. He was just a quiet guy. He would see something that needed to be done, and he'd do it. Without recognition or praise. If I was in trouble he was always the first person I called, even if it was the middle of the night. I sure wish I had thanked him more. And taken him for granted less.
If you can, go hug your dad. Or at least call him and tell him Happy Father's Day!