Today's photo has to belong my my father, who turns 70 today.
I could go on and on about my dad, and probably don't do it half as much as I should. He's truly the best role model a guy could ever have: an educator, a trail blazer, a humorist, one heck of a smart guy, one of the most caring men I know, and someone who always puts his family first.
Dad served as a school principal for over fourty years in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. During that time, he introduced reading programs that are still used in the systems to this day. dad has always been passionate about reading and getting kids to read: when Ashes was having problems at an early age reading, he arranged it so that one of the best reading teachers he had ever worked with came to our house every week to help her along. Nowadays, Ashes has the biggest collections of books I've ever seen. All because of his work.
And when I say he's always put family first, I mean it. His father passed away from cancer when he was only 13 years old. His older brother had just entered college. That made dad the man in the family, caring for his mom through a terrible time. He took care of Nana every day of her life for the rest of her life, and also managed to see himself through college and beyond. He's one of the smartest guys I know, but also one of the biggest teases: the stories of the pranks he's played and the little songs he's created are legendary in our household.
He's the reason I got into writing. Every night, when I was a little kid, he would make up stories, about Ed Drew (Nancy's younger brother) and Tonto and the Lone Ranger. It's those stories that play in my head to this day.
Plus, he always played a cool version of Manhunt in our cellar, when I was a kid. He would hide in the dark, and the four of us kids would wait at the foot of the stairs, scared to death to go downstairs. Then, a trembling foot downward...man, it was the most fun ever!