Today is my dad's birthday. He would have turned 88 today.
My dad was a bookkeeper. A quiet guy. He said more with a look or an expression. He always had a cup of coffee in one hand, and a hearty hand-shake with the other.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer not too long after I got my first radio job. I was the Morning Show Producer for a Country station in Rockford, IL. I was also the Stunt Guy. Because of Dad's health, he and Mom lived with us his last five years. He went around town, to places like Great Harvest Bread Company, and he would start chatting people up. Mom told me that he always started the conversation by asking people what radio station they listened to. Then, he told them, "MY SON's on the radio!" And, he would tell them about where I worked and what I did.
The Old Man was part of that generation that never came out and said things, like, "I love you", or, "I'm proud of you", because that was a given. He was a quiet guy. He let his actions speak louder than words.
I'm not bummed that my dad never really came out and told me that he was proud of me. I always knew how he felt. He always supported and encouraged me and showed an interest in the things I liked. I'm very proud and humbled by Dad introducing himself as my dad. That he was The Dad of this radio "celebrity". What's more, I was going by a wacky radio nickname. I was The Wake-Up Crew Gerbil. So, my dad was introducing himself as the proud parent of a wacky morning show stunt guy.
I miss The Old Man. I wish my kids had a chance to get to know him. He was pretty wacky himself. But he had a heart as big as the whole wide world. Hopefully, I got a little of that from him.