Douglass D. Query, my dad, was one of those dads that every friend of mine wished they had as their own. He was funny. Really funny. Interesting, smart, current, and would play Going to California on the radio and look back with his 30th daily cigarette lip dangling and say “that’s the big LZ”. He engaged in conversation with us, and that was never something I experienced with most of my friends’ fathers, as they mostly seemed more serious and aloof when I was younger. He’d sit and talk and ask random questions and hilariously probe—fact-finding to an almost gossipy level probe—which I think he worked through to understand where me and my brothers and sisters were at in life and what we were doing. He’d ask questions in a way that opened the door for inappropriate responses, which he loved. And in that process, an honest dialogue formed between these wild young boys and this IBM executive, whom many of their fathers worked with. It felt like trust. You could trust talking to my pop.
I learned this from him, and tried to practice it with my own kids and their friends. The difference there being that me and my friends were somewhat dense and focused on a relatively short list of things in the early ’80s at Fairview High School. Our summer intelligence was “Drink this, smoke that, now you drive as fast as you can down Flagstaff while I surf on the hood and you try and knock me off.”
Fast forward 30 years—and I was talking to my kids’ and their friends, who are now in their mid 20’s and early 30’s who were also seniors at Fairview, and smarter back then than I am now. Humble, kind, caring, intelligent, accepting, graceful, fierce, and lovely—who always made someone agree to be the DD before the shenanigans started. Who were these people? I love them and I have learned so much from all of them, and I’m pretty sure my dad felt the same way about me and my crew.
You gotta be 16 to drive, 18 to join the military and vote, and 21 to drink—but any man can become a father. Such a huge responsibility with so much at stake and there are no qualifications, classes, licensing or dufus metrics to pass.
Father’s Day is a day to love on your dad. But it’s also a day for all fathers to continue to rise to the occasion, to the call and to the long, long effect our smart dadness has on our children and by legacy effect, their children and beyond.
I have missed my dad every day since he died two years ago. And if I had one more chance to make him something delicious to eat, which will always be one of my very best memories until I die, I would sit down next to him while he spilt shit all over his shirt (he started doing this when he was like, 40 years old and was always so surprised and cussed when it happened) and tell him how much I love him for showing me what being a true friend to your kids looked and felt like.
High fives and standing ovations to all you dads out there. It ain’t easy and if it was, they’d call it snowboarding. Lots of dads out there that aren’t biological dads. Coaches, teachers, bosses, neighbors, uncles. Lotta men will say a stranger in their life became more of a dad than their own father. Being the most caring, kind, intuitive, fascinated, loving, understanding and supportive DAD you’ve ever been, to whomever is looking to you for rad-dadness, is the thing. Love those kids and all their friends. Teach them well and take advantage of the opportunity to set the highest expectations of moral code and societal conduct with them.
Absolutely NOTHING but amazingness that comes from that effort on a grip of levels – specially right here right now.
Be Safe. Be Kind.
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