The last 10 ½ months since my dad, Jim Dickson, passed away on July 30 of last year have been filled with firsts for me and my family.
My family has walked that unfamiliar path of first birthdays and anniversaries without Dad as well as the first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s without him. And through the strength of our shared faith and our love for each other, we have, even through the tears, made it OK.
The summer of 2013 has turned to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring and, in a few days, we will be back to summer. Yes, the seasons of life, including the baseball, football and basketball seasons Dad and I loved to share, have come full circle.
It’s been tough not talking Tennessee football or basketball with Dad. I even miss the way he would pick on me, pretending to be pessimistic about our Volunteers to ruffle my feathers.
Sunday is another of those first days without Dad as we celebrate Father’s Day.
As has been the case with the other big days, this first Father’s Day without Dad will seem strange. As an adult I missed more Father’s Days being with Dad than I spent with him. But we always celebrated the day together even if only with a phone call.
I’m still trying to decide how I will celebrate — yes, celebrate — my first Father’s Day without Dad. Dad was first a Southern Baptist deacon and then preacher, so I know I’ll spend part of the day in church.
He didn’t fish or golf, so I doubt I’ll be fishing or golfing Sunday. Dad was a Philadelphia Phillies fan and the Phillies play the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. If I can get the game on TV or the web, I’ll watch it and pull for the Phillies just for Dad.
Dad loved funny movies — especially ones about crazy dysfunctional fathers — so I’ll see if I can find something with Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold or a Robin Williams or Steve Martin movie to have a laugh for Dad.
Since losing Dad I’ve had numerous friends tell me how he impacted their lives. Jim Dickson was my dad, but he was a coach and mentor to many young men he coached or taught in Sunday School.
I always thought of him as a great man, but others have said they thought of him that way, too. Jim Dickson was a common man with a rare grace and uncommon greatness that allowed him to touch many people's lives.
I challenge each son and daughter reading this column to — if possible — reach out to your dad this weekend and celebrate a relationship worth keeping or saving.
Make memories that are pure gold so that with each passing year you will have treasured memories to hold to long after “Dad, Pop, Paw or Father” is gone.
I know bittersweet tears will flow Sunday, and each will serve as a reminder of how blessed I am to have such a special Dad.
Happy Father’s Day.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.