My dad is pretty non traditional for this area.  He was born and raised in Garland, TX and has lived in a tiny town in Texas for most of his life.  That tiny town (shout out to Haskell, TX) is full of farmers and people who work with their hands and have a simple approach to life.  That is where I grew up and where my mom and dad raised me and my older brother.

It was sometimes difficult being a kid whose dad didn't wear a baseball cap or enjoy football on Sundays.  We didn't have a huge family that also lived in the area and so I couldn't relate to my cousins coming over or going to my Aunt's house after school.

Nevertheless, I learned from my dad about perseverance, truthful self-knowledge and being a genuine example to others.  Here are just some of the things I love about my Non-Trad Dad:

He's a Genius -- But Only When It's Interesting.  My dad can beat you in Trivial Pursuit.  If the sports question is more general in knowledge, he can beat you in ONE turn.  In fact, growing up, we re-wrote the rules for Trivial Pursuit in our home.  When it is Dad's turn, if he gets a piece of pie, his turn ends.  That way the game lasts longer than 10 minutes.  His genius is truly a trivial pursuit.  He is interested in interesting things and doesn't care much for mundane instruction or knowledge.

He Became a Registered Nurse -- When Nursing Wasn't Something A Man Did.  I remember when he had to wear the nurses' cap and  he  looked so dorky.  He has a passion for helping people and nursing was a way to do that.  He's smarter than most people but going the route to be a doctor was too much work. . .since his real passions are things like:

Reading.  A Good Book is Priceless -- and should always be shared.  My parents never stopped me from reading a book, even if it was a bit controversial.  I would raid his bookshelves (still do, actually) and wanted to be just like him.  He has introduced me to so many great stories that meld into MY story.  Some of my favorite memories are of going with him to the public library in Abilene (a small city about 55 miles from our home) so he could have a bigger selection of books.  He would checkout 5-10 books every two weeks and fill his time at the hospital overnight caring for patients and reading to his heart's content.

He Plays Piano and Sings, Too.  And that has always been fascinating to me.  I have taken piano lessons for two years as an adult and love it but I don't have the talent he does.  He sings and plays for church and for fun and in a place where men don't usually put on those types of displays. But, if you hear him . . . you'll hear the GOD in him and that makes it so special.

He Taught Me Everything I Know about old movies and musicals.  He also taught me how to make delicious popcorn.  He took me to my first Broadway show (Showboat!) and is the reason I feel in love with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

He does his own thing, lives a life internally that is full of magic and wonder and then pushes that good will externally to those around him.  He survives adversity and manages his life with Grace.  He's not perfect but he is My Dad.  He shaped me (for good or bad) and I honor that today and every day.