My Dad once said to me, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” He was laughing when he said it – he said he’d heard it once and thought it was funny.
His favorite expression was ‘try somethin’ different.’ For my spring break senior year of college, I told him I wanted to visit him in Florida and just relax around the house. When I got there, he had a camper parked in the driveway. He said instead we’d drive down to Key West and explore the island, so we did. We crossed the Seven Mile Bridge, fed pelicans by the water, went deep-sea fishing. I caught three grouper before he finally hooked something. After a 45 minute battle with the sea, he reeled in an 8 foot nurse shark. Later he laughed at me when I told him he’d broken my Instagram ‘Like’ record with his picture, but I could tell that seeing me excited meant more to him than anything the entire trip.
When I was studying abroad in Thailand, I was Skyping my Dad telling him how sad I was that the semester was ending. Mid-conversation he asked me where the security numbers were on the back of his credit card… and when I asked why, he said I had to extend my flight home because he was coming to visit. He arrived in front of my dorm two weeks later, and I couldn’t believe I was looking at Dad, standing in Chiang Mai wearing a newly purchased backpackers backpack. We rode the tram through my campus and I showed him my favorite street vendors along Suthep. We played with tiger cubs in Chiang Mai, traveled by long-boat down the Mekong River into Laos, jumped off the Kuang Si waterfall in Luang Prabang, motor-biked through Koh Chang, and had dinner on the rooftop of the tallest tower in Bangkok. And on my last night in Thailand, he helped me pack, get to the airport stress-free, and take off with memories I’d carry with me the rest of my life.
I was blessed to have done so many things with my dad, things I never would have imagined possible until he made me realize that anything was.
On the back of a boat in Koh Chang were the words: Live Like You Mean It. My Dad pointed to them. “Live like you mean it” he said, “that’s what I’m talkin about!” I took a picture and smiled. That was my Dad. In his purest form, in the least words, that was my Dad.
I will always love you Dad. Thank you for everything you’ve shown me, everything you’ve taught me, and every memory you’ve given me. I will take them with me always, and you will be with me, always.