My dad always told me that I inspired him because I never started what I couldn’t finish. In fact, I have a beautiful letter my father wrote to me when I was sixteen years old, commending me for the young woman I had become. My dad wasn’t a man of long, eloquent words. He didn’t know how to spell very well and he wasn’t a big fan of grammar, but he took every opportunity to tell me what was on his mind and how he felt about me.
He was a man who loved learning, talking and reminiscing about his good old days. His favorite weekends were spent on his boat catching fish with my mom or dragging her out to the ranch to fix up deer feeders and clean up the land. He was a working man, with rough hands and a kind soul. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t do.
Sitting on his bed every night, he’d open up his red, aged leather bible. The pages of this bible are a deep beige with splotches of darkening brown, from years of wear, and there are all sorts of memoirs collected inside the cover from obituaries to collected tickets to important photos. The inside front cover reads, “To my dearest friend” and signed by a man who influenced my father’s nightly thanksgiving and praise. He’d open up to a random page and dive into the words that always seemed to speak to him.
Even near the end, my father believed deeply in miracles and the magic of this world. He believed that through unwavering faith and belief, that nothing could stand in our way. But, his ultimate lesson was that God has a plan for each one of us and that what’s God’s will is something we must never question. This alone is something that would change how my family saw death.
Because my dad had this belief that everything was meant to happen for a reason, he showed how important reinforcing our faith was every evening and he taught my sister and I to understand it as well, we were able to feel so much peace when my father passed. Although there will always be a missing piece of my heart and a void that can’t be filled again, there is so much I appreciate from the man who taught me how to golf.
I was only six or seven years old when he put a golf club in my hand, but he taught me the value of learning this sport. He emphasized patience and practice. He said to always let the next hole be a new slate and to forget what happened on the last. These were principles that he knew would stick with me throughout life and I couldn’t have been more grateful that he made it his mission to teach me.
When I was 20 and I wanted to take up golfing again, he went with me to the store to purchase a new set of clubs. I could feel how proud he was of me as we walked up to the cashier. He couldn’t be more excited that I was finally going to give it another go. After all, my dad believed you a good golf game could open new doors.
My dad constantly wondered what God’s mission was for him here on Earth. He may not have been clued into what it was before he passed, but I will always feel like he completed the mission of raising his daughter well. I know I made him proud because he told me so and I will continue to use the lessons he always taught me. I will even more so use the golf lessons he always managed to share with me as I continue my journey.
To all the dads out there: do your best to teach your daughters and sons your ways. Teach them how to golf young. They will thank you later and they will prove to you that it’s worth all the time and energy you put into them. Nothing can replace the memories of a child and their parent golfing together.