My Dad. The Original Tom Brady.
It’s Father’s Day, so it only seems natural that I’d talk a little bit about my dad. Last year, I shared bits and pieces about my mom for Mother’s Day. I didn’t want to get super mushy on my golfers with two posts about my parents in one year, so I didn’t gush over my father last year. This year I’m going to honor my father.
My dad is a man of few words. He will talk your leg off if you ask him about trees or politics. As a rule, he is rarely the one who instigates the conversation. It’s not really that he’s shy, but rather more of what I would call an observer. He is the middle child in a family of three boys. He was an absolutely adorable baby. I love to hear my grandma talk about his curls and long eyelashes. Seriously! Check out how cute he was!
It was a good thing he was a cute kid because he sure did know how to get into trouble. There aren’t many relationships that I enjoy watching more than the relationship between my dad and my Uncle Steve. Even after all of these years, they are still best friends. When they were younger, they got into huge amounts of trouble.
Tom and Steve had an older brother, Dan. There was a seven year age difference, so Dan was the brother they both looked up to and admired.
Dan was a good brother to them. I will never forget the day before my Uncle Dan passed away, I watched my dad reach out to him and say, “I love you, brother.” I had never heard him say it, but I always knew it in the way they behaved with one another.
When they went out as a family, it was always Tom and Steve who were together. Probably causing problems.
You can tell just by looking at them. They have that mischievous twinkle in their eyes.
They still get into trouble together.
Despite my dad’s affinity for firecrackers and ant hills, he somehow managed to graduate from Altoona High School as valedictorian when he was barely seventeen. I think Grandma sent him to school early to get him out of the house. Ha. Ha.
I love to meet Dad’s classmates. They always tell stories that are hard for me to imagine. The quiet observant man that I have known all of my life is always replaced with a younger version who tells stories and laughs a lot. There are few things that I enjoy more in life than listening to my dad laugh. When I was a child, I would watch Laurel and Hardy with my dad and he would laugh and laugh and laugh. He made the movies all the more funny because of his laugh.
Shortly after high school, my dad met my mom. At the time, my mom was taking a class at Grand View because she was in nursing school. Although dad went to Drake, they didn’t offer this particular class, so dad took it at Grand View. As luck would have it, he was one of only about four guys who were put in this class that was filled with mostly girls studying nursing.
My parents recently celebrated their 49th Wedding Anniversary. You’ll never believe who was his best man in the wedding. That right! My Uncle Steve.
When my dad was in his late twenties, my grandpa, Dale, and grandma, Audrey, approached him about building a golf course. My dad is very artistic and has an amazing mind for being able to see things. He’s a thinker and ponders over things for days and often even years until he can completely think things through. He had graduated from Drake with a degree in business, but grandpa handed over an aerial map of farmland that he wanted to turn into a golf course. My dad spent many hours visualizing and placing the holes in their places on 110 acres of land. When he was done, they had a friend, Harold McCollough, look at the drawing. Harold changed only a few holes by switching the tee/green placement and they called it good. For instance, dad had drawn number 17’s green as a tee. This would have made it number twelve which would follow along the same field as number 11. By exchanging the tee for a green, Harold made the layout a little more interesting because now it isn’t two holes back to back that follow the field. (I know this makes no sense to someone who isn’t familiar with the golf course. Sorry, it’s the best I could do for explaining.)
I admire my dad more than almost anyone I know because of his outlook on life. When he was thirty one, he had his first open heart surgery. I was only six months old at the time and the golf course was very new. He had had rheumatic fever as a child and it had settled in his aortic valve as it often does, so he had to have it replaced. He has gone on to have three open heart surgeries all for the same reason. The first two valves he had put in were pig valves which don’t last as long. His third open heart surgery resulted in him having a mechanical valve put in which means he quite literally has a heart that keeps on ticking. He had resisted the mechanical valve because it requires him to take a blood thinner. Having thin blood doesn’t work very well when you work on a golf course. We have a running joke because dad bleeds very easily, so he always keeps tee towels and duct tape in his golf cart which serve as his band aids. He has always been very resourceful.
Having had many complications from having multiple heart surgeries, he could easily be someone who is depressed or feels sorry for himself. He isn’t. After 41 years of working on the golf course, he still comes to work every day. He never complains and is always meticulous in the things that he does. We aren’t allowed to throw used nuts, bolts or screws away because dad will sort them in the winter. Every day is met with enthusiasm and optimism about what the day will bring. He is an amazing example of how to live your life to the fullest. He believes strongly in God and says beautiful poetic prayers. I’ve always thought that’s where he finds that inner peace.
There are five members in my immediate family. My parents, plus my big brother and sister.
I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood. They are great parents. A few years ago, my dad gave me a book that he had spent nearly three years filling out in great details about his life. In it, he speaks frequently of his love for my mom.
When I was a little girl, my dad read to me every single night. One of his favorite books that he would read to me was Brer Rabbit. It was an incredibly long book and I would fall asleep nearly every night listening to him read. When my children go to his house, they climb on his lap for him to read.
It wouldn’t be a true tale of my father if I didn’t mention his love for trees. He has written several articles that I’ve posted on the website about particular trees. I’m not sure when it began, but he absolutely loves trees. Because the golf course started without any trees, he had made up his mind that he would have a huge variety of trees. He has kept logs of where every tree is planted and its name including its scientific name. Truth be told, he doesn’t really need the log because he can tell you off the top of his head.
He (with the help of some critters) has planted every single tree on the golf course. Many of them were planted by seed. In the fall, he goes all over the state of Iowa and gathers seeds from trees. Then he sorts them all from five gallon buckets. He takes the seeds and sends them down a piece of PVC pipe that he installed on his tractor with a blade which puts them in the ground. I think he enjoys the solidarity that comes with planting trees.
There are so many things that he does at the golf course that it’s hard to think about them all. He’s mechanical, so when we’re in big trouble, we give dad a call to fix it.
He’s a natural on the skid loader, so it seems like he’s always moving or fixing something around here.
He’s the only one who can trench a straight line with the ditch witch.
Not to mention, he’s the only one who has changed the cups on the golf course for the last 41 years. He has a system down where he divides the green into nine sections. Each cup is rotated around in those sections. Someday, I’ll have to write a post about his system.
There you have it. That’s my dad. He always introduces himself as the original Tom Brady, then he adds that he may not be a quarterback, but he does have a trophy wife.
When you’re out on the golf course, stop and say, “Hello.” He has many interesting and fun stories to tell just don’t ask him to cut down any trees. They are his babies and he hits into them every Tuesday when he plays golf, too. It’s part of the fun of the course!
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.