I am positive many of you have heard this story and if so I apologize for repeating it, but I think on an occasion like today it deserves to be told.
This picture was taken after our house burned down in 1988. I am the little baby in the front.
How in the world did this happen, you ask?? Our house was heated by a wood-burning stove at the time, which required the ashes to be sprayed before being put in the garbage can. Unfortunately one night the ashes were a little smoldery and caught our car on fire, which caught its full gas tank on fire, which exploded and caught our house on fire.
Our neighbors called to alert my parents, who had no idea how serious the situation was at first. By the time they got outside they were surrounded by 40-foot flames and I can't even imagine how they were feeling.
As they sat with their neighbors and each other, watching their house burn down and waiting for the fire department, they realized there had been a slight miscommunication--Both my parents thought the other was going to get the baby out of the house....
(I've been told this story many times and every time this part turns to slow motion)
So what does my Dad do? Takes a deep breath and runs inside to rescue his little girl from the fiery flames. Apparently when he got to me I was entirely covered in soot. There was a white outline on my crib from where my body had been laying and when I opened my eyes they were the only thing on my body that wasn't completely black.
Needless to say I am quite grateful to my father. (aren't you?) Not many people can call their Dad their hero in quite so literal a sense, but he's also a hero in lots of other ways.
BOAT HERO: Here he is on some trick skis he wanted to try out.
Don't let the awkward picture throw you--while he's an incredible slalom skier, sometimes he likes to switch things up! The one thing that doesn't change is his prescription yellow goggles and his bullet proof vest of a life jacket.
TENNIS HERO: I don't think I can count how many times he's told me,
a) "Keep your eye on the ball until it hits your racket" and
b) "Have your racket back by the time the ball hits the ground."
I know, Dad!!! I guess I should start doing it so he can stop telling me...
FOOD HERO: When he's around there will be no shortage of delicious food, especially things like fresh fruit and artichoke hearts.
DOCTOR HERO: It's fun to have friends tell me they saw/worked with/were put to sleep by my Dad. They never fail to tell me how kind and at the same time witty he was. His fetish for laffy taffy jokes truly has no bounds.
PIANO HERO: Nothing was more vexing as a child than practicing the piano for hours only to have my dad sit down later and play my piece perfectly on the first try. Sheesh. He has amazing natural talent that unfortunately I didn't inherit.
IMPROVEMENT HERO: I think the man improves in his sleep. I have never met someone who is so diligent at consistently improving in every aspect he can. While I have complained to him on occasion that I just want to coast in stagnant mediocrity for a while, I'm so grateful for his example of never being complacent.
Last but not least, my dad is a PIXEL HERO: More realistically we call him a pixel snob. You better believe he jumped on the Laser Disc train when those things were hot, and since then it's made its way from HD to BluRay to who knows what's next. I could never define the difference between the two and honestly BluRay looks a little too real for me. Say what you will, the man loves his pixels.
I'm so lucky to have been raised by the most hardworking, diligent, and genuine father in the universe! He is an amazing example of humility and love, and I owe him so much more than my life. He cares about his family more than all his hobbies combined times ten and I hope he knows the feeling is mutual.
Happy Father's Day Dadio! Love you much.