My dad, William L. Holmes, Sr, celebrated his 80th birthday this past April. I am not only his namesake, but we also look so much alike. Even at age 52, I am never too old to celebrate and show appreciation to the man who has done so much for me. I am truly grateful for my Dad’s love!
Dad isn’t a perfect father; I don’t think one exists, but I am grateful and blessed he’s still part of my life. I grew up seeing perfect father figure examples on TV sitcoms like James Evans on Good Times and Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. But in my opinion, my dad closely reaches that perfect father figure mark. He’s a supportive provider, offers encouragement, and has always wanted the best for his children. My father has contributed significantly to my overall growth and development into the man I am today, positively impacting my life in the following ways:
Not too many people are aware and know that Dad can draw. My grandmother once shared with me some sketches Dad drew from memory of familiar characters from the Walt Disney movie Lady and the Tramp when he was a teenager. I also possess a similar artistic ability because I too enjoyed sketching comic book characters when I was a child. Dad would bring home comic books after work that he purchased for me at Robbin’s Bookstore on 13th Street at their former location in Philadelphia, PA, and I would draw to my heart’s content.
When I visited Dad on the weekends after my parents, then divorced, I would always ask Dad if I could have a pencil and yellow legal pad to write on. He always supplied my requests, and I would jot down ideas and whatever thoughts came across my mind. Dad also allowed me to use my great Uncle Fred’s typewriter to create poems and short stories.
When I decided to become an author in my mid-twenties, I told Dad I wanted to write mysteries. To my surprise, he supplied me with mystery books he’d read and even purchased more when I visited him. When I began reciting poetry, Dad and my stepmother Betty would attend some of my featured performances back in the late 90s. He also provided me with books about poetry writing.
Dad took me to see the original Star Wars film back in 1977, and my life was forever changed. The film opened up the floodgates to dream and pursue my creativity. Unfortunately, my then creative process drove my mother and second-grade art teacher Mrs. Kendall up the wall because every project I made in art class centered around the movie. In 1980, my Dad and I also went to see the film The Empire Strikes Back a few times, which really made me want to become the next George Lucas.
I learned how to play the strategic game of chess in the second grade. I was fascinated by the thought process involved in using the different medieval pieces to maneuver around the chessboard to win. I remember coming home from school and sharing my excitement about what I had discovered about chess with Dad. Unfortunately, our family at the time didn’t own a chess set; however, this didn’t stop my father from denying his son the opportunity until he could purchase one.
Dad took a checkerboard and every United States coin currency he had to craft a chess set for us to play using pennies for pawns, nickels for rooks, dimes for knights, quarters for bishops, a fifty-cent coin for the queen, and a dollar coin for the king. The heads represented black pieces, and the tails were white pieces. As weird as it sounds, the concept worked as Dad, and I played our first chess match.
Dad has always been my role model for taking care of one’s overall health as a man. He taught me how to shave at 13. He also gave me the birds and the bees talk at age 15, even though I already knew the facts after taking health in the 8th grade. Dad also influenced the way I dressed. He’d let me read his copies of the men’s fashion bible, GQ, when I was a teenager.
In recent years, we’ve shared conversations about our physical well-being as we both grow older as adults. We inquire about each other’s health matters and reprimand one another when someone fails to disclose an illness. Neither of us has any qualms about inspecting the other’s refrigerator during home visits to ensure we are on the right track concerning healthy eating.
Dad is one of the most determined and resilient human beings I have ever met. Whenever my father focuses his efforts on accomplishing a goal, he will put in the time and grind until it’s completed. He never allows anything to stand in his way!
Dad transforms the word impossible into possible.
My father ran track as a teenager in high school and trained hard to earn a scholarship to La Salle University and compete in Philly’s annual relay meet The Penn Relays. Dad educated himself on home repairs and has given his all to DIY projects like plumbing, drywall, electrical work, and has even tackled minor automotive repair. He’s a better DIYer than Cliff Huxtable could ever be!
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my father’s presence in my life. I’m so grateful for his love, devotion, encouragement, and support of all my creative endeavors when some fathers would have tried to discourage their sons from exploring their artistic passions.
Dad, I appreciate all you’ve done for me and am thankful you are my Dad.
I love you and Happy Father’s Day!