Heck, it wasn’t even like he went to prison where at least I would know where to send him a letter.
My dad just vanished out into the world one summer afternoon, him and his girlfriend, no goodbyes or hugs. Just nothing.
It was a devastating sort of thing for me and my younger brother to realize. We knew he hadn’t been kidnapped or fallen down a well or whatever. We knew what was going on. My parents were divorcing, my dad was a chronic alcoholic, and one day he just decided that he didn’t care about us enough to stick around anymore. So he left.
It could have been worse, though. My brother and I were two of the lucky ones, I guess. Because a few years later, when we were teenagers whose mom had worked her butt off and sacrificed so much of her own life to raise us, we landed a new father, a step-dad named George. And this one was the real deal; he loved us like his own sons, and he still does to this very minute. His influence and advice and caring for us has been invaluable, he met two rudderless kids and helped to guide them into two men, now in their 40’s, who, despite their imperfections (I’ve got a boatload, believe me), have turned out alright. And we owe so much of that to George, to the dude who didn’t have to be our Dad but decided to do it anyway.
That leads me to this really fantastic article over at NBC Sports about a viral video making the rounds. In the video itself, you get two minutes and change of a son presenting his father with his dream car for his 57th birthday. The car, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air (57th birthday/57 Chevy … you gotta love the symmetry) is a part of the story, of course, but really it’s a small part of the broader tale.
As the article captures it, ” … nearly three decades ago, 8-year-old Mike King promised his dad Roger that somehow, someway, he’d get his father’s dream car, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air for his dad’s 57th birthday.”
That in and of itself allows for a heck of a story, because what you’re about to find out is that Mike King stuck to his word and really did get his father that car on that day. However, what makes it even cooler in my book, and what writer Jerry Bonkowski’s NBC Sports piece nails, is that Roger is Mike’s step-dad, not his biological father.
And I can’t tell you how much that part of this whole thing resonates with me. I was the kid without a dad. And then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, when all hope seemed lost, I got one. And a great one at that.
Anyone who loves their own father is going to seriously dig this video. You’d have to be riddled with cynicism not to. Yet, I think there is a special sort of appreciation that step-kids like me will have for the magic that unfolds here in some stranger’s driveway. It’s pretty much the perfect video to check out as Father’s Day approaches, I think. Because love is love and no matter where comes from, when you manage to have it in your life, especially when you’re a kid who needs it more than anybody in the world, you just have to sit back at some point and appreciate the fact that fortune came your way.
Yeah, most of us won’t ever be able to swing a ’57 Chevy for our dad or step-dad come Father’s Day. But if we could, we would, just like Mike King did.
And if you ask me, that right there says a heck of a lot.
Info: NBC Sports
Video/ Image: YouTube/8titlesdontlie