My father had many qualities, but patience was not chief among them.
I made money as a kid by scouring the woods on the golf course where we lived, finding golf balls, cleaning them up, and then selling them on the weekends.
To find them, I went rooting through the hot woods for those balls, fighting off sticker vines, poisonous plants and venomous snakes. I grew up in south Alabama, there were snakes everywhere.
I would take that golf ball money and Dad would take me to the baseball card store and stand there while I painstakingly decided how to spend my loot. I would take upwards of an hour most days. Thinking back, it must have driven him insane.
This was a guy that complained the entire universe was against him when we hit red lights while driving. He never complained once when I took a ridiculous amount of time selecting what baseball cards to buy.
But then I thought about it more.
It was money that I made, on my own initiative, from my own work.
He was proud.
It never made sense to me until I had children of my own, when it instantly made perfect sense.
I am far from a perfect father and I’ll never be one. I accept that. But I can only hope to impart some memories like this to my own kids, a challenge I happily and eagerly accept.
This is the most important job I have. It also happens to be the most fun.
What a life.