An outdoorsman, in a slightly old-fashioned sense -- that might be the best word to describe my father. Horseman, avid angler for fish large and small, lover of far and lonesome places.
Not a camper, however -- Dad treasured his comfort!
A gardener. He loved to spend hours puttering about in the yard, in the garden. A carpenter and builder by vocation and perhaps by nature, a man who preferred the concrete over the conceptual, disinclined to believe in anything on which he could not lay his hands.
Always a nice guy except, perhaps, to himself. A man of hidden moods and depressions. A man who didn't drink or smoke or allow himself much in the way of vices at all, other than over-indulging his taste for flavorful foods.
A man who loved but was not demonstrative. A man whose taste in music tended to Sousa marches, who never sang but whistled frequently. Dad did not dance, if he could help it, but was athletic and nimble. He was a champion table tennis player in his college days.
In fact, he shaped his own custom handles for his personal ping-pong paddles. He also built his own fishing rods. Well crafted they were, too.
A man with no racial prejudices but who didn't understand why he couldn't call his black employees 'boys.' He called all the men who worked for him 'boys,' after all. A man who used profanity extensively but almost never spoke in anger.
A man who scoffed at all religion yet married a highly devout woman. Love does strange things to one.
It's going on six years since Dad passed away. His last five years were spent in bed or wheelchair, barely aware of what was going on around him. I was his caregiver as he slipped further away, day by day. Not a role I regret nor time I consider wasted.
He was my dad, after all.