This werkend was among the saddest in my house. My first “boyfriend.”

I loved him with all my heart and soul, and I still do. When I was young, we played in the snow together, and he showed me the planes he fixed. He showed me around the base where he served as an Air Force reservist.

He taught me how to throw a baseball like a girl, strong and fast, so it smacked into the glove. I wore his baseball glove, smooth and brown, until I outgrew it. I still love the smell of a baseball glove and freshly mowed grass.

He taught me women are equal to men. We can do whatever men can do and that every person is different and special.

My “boyfriend” was a jack of all trades. He cooked, cleaned, and repaired cars and houses. And he taught me how to do some of it too.

He loved hard, prayed hard, and lived harder, enjoying every moment. When he was a young child, his parents were told he would only live to see his fifth birthday. Add 55 years or so and two kidney transplants and the doctors would have had it right.

He was the person I got most of my genes from: my eye color, athletic build, and knack for being straight forward (sometimes too straight forward).

I miss you already, dad.