An open letter to my dad on the day of his retirement.

Dear Dad –

Huzzah! A mere 40 years after joining the family business, you’ve made it to retirement!

I know Mom jokes about getting you a job as a greeter at Walmart. Personally, my money is still on a second career as a school bus driver. Remember how you’d tilt the steering wheel of the Buick way up, and pretend to yell at us kids? You’re a natural.

When I was little, I wasn’t quite sure what your job was. So, I told everyone you were a businessman, like the guys in suits in the J.C. Penney catalog. I was somewhat in the dark, but proud.

As I got older, I figured out what your job entailed – because you were willing to explain it to me, no matter how many random questions I asked. I also figured out that a family business was a pretty special thing. Poochie and I both had our first jobs with you – I was a file clerk, and he was a janitor. To this day, I’m awesome at alphabetizing. And Poochie? Well, I think he finally took “sanitation engineer” off his resume to make room for his master’s degree.

You worked really hard. We learned that drive from you. We also learned that doing your best, treating everyone well, and living with integrity were givens. You taught us by example.

Your hard work enabled us to live in a nice house and enjoy fun extras. We had some awesome vacations. You sent our sorry asses to college – despite my expensive out-of-state educational tastes – and set us up for success. You also empowered us and gave us the freedom to follow our hearts, even if that led us away from home. I’m only now starting to truly understand the value and depth of these rare, special gifts.

I hope this new era gives you these same opportunities – the time and the freedom to try new things and enjoy grand adventures. Keep on being your interesting, always-learning self. I can’t wait to see what else you have to teach me. You’ve already taught me what it means to be a success.

Thanks, Dad. Love you always –


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