The Star-Herald

Thankful for all my fathers

I was thinking this morning, if I wrote a special to our moms, I had best do one for dads. Here is the fruit of that thought.

As with my moms, I was blessed with four dads: my natural dad, my adopted dad, my adopted stepdad, and my father-in-law. Now some would say a father-in-law is not your dad, but, you see, my father-in-law treated me like he treated his own son. I will forever consider him a dad to me.

My natural dad was in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Presque Isle, when I was adopted. I met him face-to-face when I was 38 years old. My adopted dad and mom were neighbors to my birth mom and dad when I was adopted, so it was only natural who my adopted parents would be. My adopted dad was a trucker when I was born and changed his career to operating heavy equipment when I was 3 years old, as that work was more steady with a constant paycheck. My adopted stepdad was a farm worker most of the time I knew him and my father-in-law was foreman for the Presque Isle Sewer District.

So you see, I had a whole melange of examples to look at growing up and as an adult.

Some kids wonder as they age, where did I get my likes and dislikes or where did I get my mannerisms from? I found out about mine when I met my natural dad. Pop was a jet mechanic in the Air Force and had an insatiable love for planes and everything aviation. Pop also had a love for hot and spicy. Peppers, hot sauce and all foods spicy were fair game. Yep, you guessed it. I also have a love for the hot and spicy. My dad and I and my oldest son look and acted so much alike it is uncanny.

My adopted dad gave me a love for trucks and heavy equipment. When I was enlisting in the U.S. Navy, I wanted to be a Seabee and operate heavy equipment, but when I went to classification in boot camp, I was given orders to Boiler Technician A school, and learned I would go to sea. To this day, I can watch heavy equipment work all day much to the chagrin of my wife who could care less about a bulldozer or excavator.

The thing I got from my father-in-law was integrity. My father-in-law was small in stature but he was a huge man when it came to his love of God, family and country. He was quick to “Give an answer for the hope” that he had and his God. I worked with him a bit when I worked construction before my enlistment. He was not only a hard worker but he was fun to work with.

Sadly, like my moms, my dads are all gone now. Now, I have two sons that I am extremely proud of and two grandsons who I am equally proud of, three granddaughters who are the lights in their daddy’s eyes, and I have a great-grandson whom I hope someday to be able to spoil.

If my dads were still here today, I would tell them, “Thank you, Dad, for teaching me and instilling in me a love for God, family and country that I likely would not have but for you.”

To all the dads who read this, I want to thank you for being the men you are. You will always be the heroes your children can look up to. When you see your grandsons doing somethings and wonder how they came to do them remember they are a smaller chip off the old block than your sons or daughters are.

To all the sons, daughters and grandkids and sons and daughters-in-law, make this a special day for your dads. Time is flying by and just now, you will wonder what you could have done to let dad know that he was your hero. Happy Father’s Day, dads.  

Guy Woodworth, a Presque Isle native now living in Limestone, is a 1973 graduate of Presque Isle High School and a four-year Navy veteran. He and his wife Theresa have two grown sons and five grandchildren. He may be contacted at lightning117_1999@yahoo.com.

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