My dad, Bob, grew up in a small town in California you’ve never heard of called Lookout. Almost everyone was/is related to everyone. The town got it’s name from the settlers traveling the Oregon Trail because it sits atop a plateau, about 70 miles south of the Oregon border, with great, sprawling views. Perfect for seeing when and if the indians were coming. My Grandma Hope, his mom, still lives here. There are also breathtaking views of Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta. It has streets like “Gouger Neck” and is where I learned that when you cow tip, you need to do it around 4am because the rancher will be out around 5am and will be able to stand the cows up before they start to have a problem.
My dad is one of four boys. He is the second oldest, although many could argue he is the oldest. Growing up, we would travel here at least once a year. It was always an interesting time. My brother and I would run free on the three acres that my Grandma’s house sits on. (The last house on B St.) We learned how to shoot BB guns at tin cans and my Grandma taught us how to shoot at the wood peckers so that we didn’t hurt them, but scared them away from her roof. There were always horses, cows, deer, and the occasional Mountain Lion. The nearest store is the Red Barn, they serve a mean Fried Gizzard.
Eventually my dad’s family moved to Sacramento from Lookout. He went to three high schools in four years, I guess he was a bit of a rebel rouser. He was also an excellent athlete. After graduating high school he went to Sacramento City College and served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He and my mom married. He was working as a truck driver and worked his way up to management. Before long he was being called to “clean out” terminals and restaff them so they could be more efficient. That meant a lot of moving. Eventually my parents made a forever home in the South Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento.
My dad has always been a big man with a full beard. I think it intimidated a lot of people when I was growing up. That was always so funny to me because he really is just a softie. He has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. I remember having friends sleepover and he would sneak up on us and say, “What are you doing up?” in his meanest voice. Then, show a huge smile and we would all laugh so hard. He’s such a joker. He loves history and can read a novel in about two hours. He’s read more books than some libraries have on their shelves.
Growing up he ran a tight ship. He was the disciplinarian of the household. But he always had us laughing. He took me fishing, hunting, and stargazing. He was a coach to many of my brother and I’s sports teams. He was at every millstone we had. He hated all the clothes I wore from about 7th grade on. I would come out in my Homecoming dress/Prom dress/Saturday night attire and he would ask me where the rest of it was. Something he would ask many times.
Father/Daughter Dance 1997
He’s a music lover. He loves almost all kinds of music, but never ever rap. No, that’s not music. He introduced me to Cochran, Cash, Haggard, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, David Allan Coe, and Kristofferson when I was very little. Starting my deep love for country music. He’s a huge animal lover. My mom always says, “If he sees an elephant on the side of the road he will bring it home.”. I remember coming home from gymnastics one night to find a new Weimaraner waiting for me at the front door. Or when I came home from college and found that they had adopted a 13 yo, fully blind Golden Retriever named Buddy. While poor Buddy was running into walls my dad would say, “But no one else would take him.”. I bet those were the best days of Buddy’s life.
Hood to Coast Team Driver 2011
This is where you can find my dad most often, behind the wheel. He hasn’t driven a truck in a while, but he’s still everyone’s driver du jour. He’s the man I call when I need directions. Seriously, I can be in the middle of nowhere, describe my surroundings, and he will get me where I need to go. It happens a lot more than you think. Thankfully dad is always there to help, he always answers the phone.
He walked me down the aisle when I got married. During the days leading up to the wedding, he was nervous because he walks with a cane and kept telling me that we would have to go slow. I told him it was OK because I’ll want to take my time getting down the very very long aisle, but he didn’t believe me until the moment came. He could tell I was super nervous. He said, “Hey, if you change your mind I’ve got my car parked right out front. We could be outta here so fast!”. It made me laugh and relax a bit.
Because of his love for music, I asked him to choose the song we danced to for the Father/Daughter dance. I thought for sure he would choose an old country song, instead he chose Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t she lovely”. He was whispering in my ear that he was very proud of me and that he thought Nick was a really great guy. Until Nick, he never thought anyone was good enough for me. Like a good dad should.
He loves traveling, but after traveling extensively abroad during his time in the service, he’s stayed close to the west coast. We were lucky to go to Maui in 2010 with my parents, Hope, and Nick’s parents and sister (not pictured). Nick and I were renewing our vows for our five year anniversary and we announced we were expecting little Brady. My dad was so excited to hear the news that his entire side of the family knew about it within five minutes. Another fun thing is that my dad loves to rent houses in vacation locales. He’s always trying to get everyone together under one roof. It always makes for pretty special memories. I feel very lucky to have had all the experiences I’ve had.
Dad and Brady in Tahoe 2011
But what he loves most is his family. He’s there for everyone all the time. Brothers, aunts, cousins, and parents. He will drop everything to help someone no matter what. He has been a father to six kids. He especially loves the baby stage. Here he is holding his only grandson, my little Brady.
My dad taught me what it means to be a man. Through his example I’ve learned that respect and love are the true markers of a man. He’s always given our family everything we need, and always tries to give us everything we’ve wanted. Even when it hasn’t been easy. He’s taught me that friends may come and go, but family is forever. He’s been my biggest supporter, the first one to tell me that something is not a good idea, and tells me never to settle. He’s an amazing dad and Grandpa to my kids. I draw on my experiences with him often as a parent. I find myself saying “Bobisms” to my own kids. I feel very lucky to have him as my dad and as my friend now. Thanks for teaching me what unconditional love really means, dad.