Doing things with my dad started early. He taught me how to throw, catch and hit a ball. My dad showed me how to dribble a basketball and make a layup. He told me "no" a lot, but I learned right from wrong. He took me fishing, bowling, camping and showed me how to swing a hammer, use a saw and dig a hole. We even bowled together and won a father and son tournament.
Just being with my dad was a thrill for me. Whether it was watching or listening to a Cardinal baseball game or just being together, grilling a side of ribs and drinking a cold, frosty one, it was great. He tried to show me everything he knew from using a lawn mower to solving an algebra problem.
But the simple things that we did together really stick in my mind: Peeling potatoes, shucking corn, growing tomatoes and peppers, washing and waxing our red Valiant or making my favorite desert, pineapple upside down cake. Yes, my dad taught me how to bake, make chili and fry eggs. He was a great cook.
I can still remember the feeling of his whiskers on my face when he hugged me tight. I remember when I saw my dad cry for the first time when his father died, and I remember crying the same way when my dad passed away suddenly.
My dad showed me a lot, including love. I wish all sons could have these kind of memories.
Michael Ray Dillier