In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would write about mine. I feel blessed beyond words to have both of my parents still living and enjoying a meaningful life. My dad is 87 and still acts like he’s 30 sometimes. Tonight when I called to wish him a happy Father’s Day, I asked how he was doing. His reply: “If I were any better I’d be dangerous!” He has two speeds, non-stop and asleep. This evening he described his new method of mowing the lawn so he doesn’t get too tired. He watches part of a TV show and when the commercials come on, he goes out to mow for 5-10 minutes. I’ve always admired his creativity.
A few years ago when we arrived fIn Minnesota for our week at the lake, I announced that I was retiring from water skiing. I had taken a pretty bad fall the previous year and I didn’t think my once-a-year ski run to show off that I could still slalom was worth the potential injury. I had also just started practicing yoga and I didn’t want to mess up my practice. When I announced this decision to hang it up, my dad responded, “Well, I’m not!” He outlasted me several years more and finally quit water skiing when he was about 82.
We don’t see each other that often, twice a year if we’re lucky. So our week in Minnesota is precious time with both of my parents. We love being out on the water and my dad is usually with us as we explore the lake’s islands, check out the loons, and just hang out on the dock. Some of my best memories are of sailing with him, often when the wind was way more than we could handle. The lake is sometimes a challenge for sailing because there are so many small islands and the wind shifts around frequently, often without warning. The last time we went out a couple years ago, we took my two granddaughters along and they had the sail of their lives. Actually, the only sail, since we haven’t been out since then. One got knocked in the head with the boom, and I lost one of my favorite hats to a squall. It was one of those “what happens on the sailboat stays on the sailboat” kind of sails.
There are many things I could say about my dad, many qualities I’m proud to say I inherited from him. If anyone wonders where I get my energy and inability to sit still, they’ll know the answer after spending twenty minutes with Jim Kenner. He is generous and gives his time to his family and those who need help. He still trims trees for the old ladies in town, although he’s probably older than most of them now. My dad is honest, lives with integrity, and is a role model for service to others. He loves life and still has a sense of humor. He loves his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, and knows how to have fun with us. When you’re with him and none of the siblings are around, he always makes you feel like you’re the favorite. I am grateful for each day that I still have my dad on this earth, and it’s an honor to be his first-born child. I hope I can give my family the kind of love he’s given us.