Two bits of advice, son:
Don't run for political office in Boone county and never, ever mess with an Iron Horseman.
I'm blessed that both of my parents are still with me, and the strongest, best man I have ever met is my father, Gary.
He's from a different generation, one that worked as much as he could so that his family could have everything they ever wanted and more than he had growing up. Unfortunately, that meant I didn't have him around as much as I needed. Don't get me wrong, he was there on nights and weekends, but his generation didn't seem to let themselves be big kids and we didn't know how to talk to each other.
I made the mistake for many, many years not seeing all the sacrifices he made for all of us or recognizing his keen intellect and passion for film, politics and reading.
I underestimated him.
And worse, I'm ashamed to admit that I thought I was better than him.
I didn't see who he really was and I was angry because I needed him but couldn't admit it.
In the past, my father and I didn't communicate very much. Most of it was me and some of it was him not knowing how to do it. It took to the process of getting married and having a family to begin to acknowledge all he had taught me and even more that he had sacrificed.
And it began to wake me up.
The things he and my mother achieved for our family startle me still. They made raising a family seem so easy. And trust me, our family has many issues and life was not a picnic or even an oasis, but they did things that I still hope to achieve.
And my Dad had the hardest job of all, he worked in the background to make it all happen and got very little of the credit.
I'm glad that I woke up and saw the role model that I was blessed with. I'm proud to say that I've been smart enough to finally tell him how proud I am to have him as my father and how proud I am to be his son.
Thank you, Dad. Those words are not nearly enough to express how much I love you.