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Commentary: Happy Father’s Day

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Jodi Rall, Columnist

Jodi Rall is a Brentwood resident and writer. 

While thinking about Father’s Day this Sunday, my mind goes back to my own daddy. He was a gregarious fellow whose blue eyes sparkled when he laughed or told a funny story. People say I am like my dad, and to me, this is a huge compliment.  

When my husband met my dad 34 years ago, he thought my dad laughed like the Pillsbury Doughboy. During our first year of marriage, he even gave my dad a cookie jar with the Doughboy on it. My dad loved it.  

Never did my hubby realize we would one day have a son who laughs just like his pap pap.  

My dad’s name was Bill, and friends called him Billy Boy. He only had an eighth grade education because his father died and left his mother with seven children to raise alone.  

Working at the local steel mill in Pennsylvania, my dad dreamed big. He started his own hauling company, then turned it into Altsman trucking. He owned his own businesses and was a true self-starter.  

Hard work was something my dad was not afraid of, and he instilled this value into each of his five children.  

Family was at the core of who my dad was. We had large family gatherings on holidays and camping outings, and you could see the joy they gave him.  

My love of nature comes from my dad. We used to walk in the woods, and it was my dad who taught me about the dogwood tree and the legend surrounding Easter.  

The first guy I ever caught was my dad — quite literally — when we were trout fishing in a creek in the mountains and my hook somehow managed to hit him. He took it with great stride, even though I cried and cried over it.  

Our first real vacation was when I was 10 years old. We went to Disneyland, and my dad was the biggest kid at the park. I can vividly remember riding Space Mountain and the workers telling my dad to take off his glasses and him screaming like a little girl during the ride.  

My dad was 40 years old when I was born and, sadly, my children mostly remember him in a wheelchair due to Parkinson’s disease. Our youngest son, John William, named for both of his late grandfathers, would sit on my dad’s lap, and his very first smile was looking up into my dad’s eyes. For this, I will be forever grateful.  

If your dad is alive, may you be blessed with memories to sustain you for when they are gone.  

Kisses to heaven to my dad and my father-in-law, Jack. My husband and I were both blessed with great dads and loving grandfathers. 

To my husband, the father of our four children, happy Father’s Day. You set the bar high for what being a great dad is.

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