Another Father’s Day came and went Sunday, and all across the country, grills were fired up and TVs were tuned to the U.S. Open as we all took some time to appreciate the dads in our lives.
I have to say, when it comes to my dad and grandfathers, I’ve been really blessed.
My dad spent this year’s Father’s Day at the lake where the family took the boat out and enjoyed the lake.
I don’t think I say it enough, but I’m thankful for my dad, as well as both of my grandfathers’, influence in my life.
From a young age, my dad taught me how to find joy in life. I can still remember when he came home from long hours of working outside and took a couple of hours to throw baseball with me in the backyard.
He never told me I wasn’t good at the sport, even when I only got one hit my entire first year of playing. Instead, he encouraged me to just keep working at it. In later years, when I started enjoying basketball and football more than baseball, he continued to support me even though I didn’t particularly excel at either sport.
I finally latched onto volleyball, a sport I continue to play today, albeit much less competitively than I used to play. He still comes to some of the games, though, even if it’s just a local recreation league.
My mom’s dad, or Papa as we have always called him, taught me that when something needs done, that means you do it right now.
I’ve found that Papa is well known in the Lebanon area as Gen. Pickler, or to some, just the General. He’s the reason I came to work at The Lebanon Democrat, because as my editor, Jared Felkins told me, “He’s very persistent.”
Papa and Oma (German for grandmother) have opened their house to me while I’ve been in Lebanon and taken care of me in a lot of different ways, whether they’ve offered food, a place to stay after late nights at the paper or support after a particularly long day. I’m not sure I could ever repay what they’ve offered me during my time here.
Lastly, there’s my dad’s dad, my grandpa, who I think about and miss almost every day. Grandpa taught me the importance of hard work in life, a lesson I don’t think I could forget even if I tried.
I can remember groaning when he would walk over to our house after school to get some help with the garden. I wanted to spend the afternoon playing video games or something equally unproductive, but grandpa knew how important it was to learn how to work from a young age.
He had a heart attack in 2012 while pouring concrete just weeks after a doctor told him he needed to take it easier. He worked hard until the day he died.
I hope I’ve made each of them proud with where I am today. I’m not a father, but someday I will be, and thankfully I’ve been given three incredible examples.
One thing’s for sure; I have big shoes to fill.
Jacob Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.