What can I say about my Dad? A man who came to the U.S. with a little bit of money and a lot of big hopes. From humble beginnings to truly living the American Dream, my Dad has worked hard, enjoyed life, and been there for each member of my family. He’s provided stability, advice, and love to his siblings, wife, in-laws, children, and distant relatives in the way only my Dad could. He’s truly a great guy.
When my father came to the U.S. at the age of 17, he had one goal: to go to college. From there he got a Masters in teaching and a Ph.D. in Physics, and he’s been teaching university-level physics ever since. But don’t be fooled that this was his only career. My Dad is an inventor, a comic, a social butterfly, a gardener, a real estate tycoon, and the most generous soul you’ll ever meet.
Donning a Bogart-esque ensemble made up of a taupe fedora and Burberry trench coat, my father’s style is recognizable anywhere. “You look like a detective,” was once declared at a sister’s graduation. “Are you in the mafia?” was asked at a restaurant. But the most common praise is always, “I love your hat.” The man has true style. The only person I’ve ever known to garden in white linen pants, my father has been serious about fashion his whole life. Shoes polished, sweater tied around his shoulders, my Dad would fit right into every Fred Astaire movie you could name – he even prefers that era of pants! Never underdressed, and always going places, my father’s style has influenced me the most. We discuss our love of hats, he gifted me with my first Burberry trench, and my preferred dress cuts are ones that he would consider timeless. When my sisters and I were kids, it was our father who took us shopping, chaperoned us to peruse the racks, and taught us how to determine reasonable pricing. Since then, I’ve never forgotten how to shop.
If there’s one thing my father is best known for, it’s his advice. Able to give advice even when you don’t need it, my Dad always has a tip, on anything and everything. Need an idea for a new business? He’s got one. Best way to buy stocks? He’ll tell you. How to negotiate an unlikely mattress return? Ask him. But his greatest ability, hands down, is how he deals with people. He’s a natural diplomat, wanting to reduce stress, make peace and bring about the best in others. When it comes to service, he always asks his server’s name, letting them know he sees them. And they usually see him too. It’s hard not to notice Dean.
Optimism can be hard, but it’s a trait my father never runs out of. Finding light in even the darkest situations, he’s a sensitive soul, hating to see others uncomfortable or in pain. He’s always happy, upbeat, infectiously cheery, even when it’s just a normal day. “Give ‘em hell,” he used to tell me with a smile before field hockey games or other similarly competitive excursions. And I always tried to.
I have several books to fill about my father, many about the eccentricities only a physics professor could have. Like that time he watered down all the liquid soap in the house because it was too viscous. Or the time he brought our gypsy handyman to read his student’s fortunes. So many moments to laugh out loud about and I hope many more still to come. This weekend we’re honoring my Dad, and all the other fathers in our family, with a big barbecue and celebration. It’s the best way to tell my Dad I love him. Other than this:
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
What traits made your own dad unique? Share with me in the comments below!