I can’t let Father’s Day go by and not write something about my dad.
I’ve mentioned him from time-to-time in my columns, mostly because I know he’ll read it. He always sends me texts after he reads them, and he’ll critique me.
I’m really close with my dad, but it hasn’t always been that way. Don’t get me wrong; my dad has always been active in my life. But, he was a hard worker. He owned a pharmacy for most of my childhood, and I didn’t see him as much. But, he did that to provide for his family. I understood that.
Something changed about five years ago. I wrote in a previous column about the passing of my mother, and when that happened, I was in school at Auburn University working toward my degree in journalism.
While I was at Auburn, I would call my father to catch up — he was also an Auburn grad, so I’d call him to talk football or campus life or class. But, I would also call him to ask him about my mother.
It was hard for me to speak to her. My dad always made time to talk to me.
If he was helping a patient and he saw the phone ring, he’d hold up a hand and then answer so he could talk to his son.
We talked a lot in those three years I was at Auburn. We talked about life, relationships and work. Everything. I loved our talks.
He was my father, but he also became a friend. Like, he’s a dad, but also a bro — a year ago, he actually went with my brother and me to Chicago to see Phish at Wrigley Field. It was the first concert he had ever been to.
I see so much of myself in him — he is way nicer. I know all of my friends and employees will attest to this. He’s actually visited the T-J and brought us a meal.
My dad can and will talk to anyone. He just loves the interaction, and he is genuinely interested in everything.
He’s my favorite person — my No. 1 — easily.
So, when my dad was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2016, I was crushed. I had spent so many years listening to him talk, sing and laugh, and there was a time when I didn’t know if I’d ever get to hear that again.
He went through an intense six-week bout of radiation treatment, and it was then that I truly saw just how strong my dad was.
The doctors say his prognosis is promising, but they won’t know for seven years whether or not he’s “cancer-free.”
One thing is for sure, though. He hasn’t lost his ability to talk — it may be more labored now, but he’ll talk your ear off if you let him and get close enough to hear him.
And I’m glad... because I love our talks.