To A Patriarch

Patriarch

  1. Head of a family or tribe.
  2. Figures (biblical) regarded as the fathers of the human race.

Synonyms – Father, Leader, Elder

I am not the best of fathers. I am not a bad father but I have room for improvement. I am fun most of the time. I am overbearing sometimes and overprotective at others. I swear more often than I would like. We don’t do as many extracurricular activities as we should. We don’t do as many curricular activities as we should either. I could read more bedtime stories. I could teach the kids more about love and less about judgement. I could make less fart jokes but let’s face facts; Fart jokes are funny.

I have some work to do before I can reach the storied status of patriarch.

Luckily, I know what the job looks like. I have been under the guidance of several patriarchs and never even knew it. They all have a special place to me but this year is about one in particular. He had an interesting butterfly effect on my life and a domino effect into several others.

His name was Daddy Ron and he passed away this year after a battle with Alzheimer’s. I wore a pink tie because he was a father to daughters and the father is the side of him I saw the most.

Daddy Ron was married to Mama C and until I was about sixteen I thought that is what everyone called them. My mother also used those names for them, I assume, since they opened their home to her during a rough time in high school. Daddy Ron had two girls around the same age and they welcomed my mother as family, as a sister. Later their family made me feel like a grandchild and a nephew. I enjoy seeing their children because I feel like I have more cousins. They are one of several families who make me believe that blood is a minor factor in who your family becomes. The village is the family.

Daddy Ron had a big heart and a big laugh. He had a habit of inserting the word “there” or “okay” during pauses when he was delivering a story or a speech. I can’t remember a single petty or hurtful comment. He might have been honest and direct but he wasn’t a man of low blows. He was a man of faith and more than that, he helped me remember that there is a positive message to faith that is becoming more uncommon lately; Love. He passed that trait down with ease.

My mother had the chance to repay the original favor of providing a home as a teacher in the very same high school she had attended. Life has a funny way of boomeranging. In our house I knew it would never be a question, if anyone truly needs a place to stay or a bite to eat and we can provide, it will be automatic. I’ve tried to hold the same standard. Each time I’ve seen love paid forward, the people who come out the other side of their struggles are better than they thought they could be.

Daddy Ron was a patriarch and the definition falls a little short. I think it goes beyond being a good father and includes making great fathers as well.

Everyone knows I enjoy good irony and I think Daddy Ron got the last laugh over Alzheimer’s. It is a disease that erases your legacy within your own mind. Little did it know, he created something that extended out into the world and as he forgot things his legacy returned to remind him. That is what life is all about.

Happy Father’s Day.

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