Posted by Dan Barry on

“The worst misfortune that can happen to an ordinary man is to have an extraordinary father.” –Austin O’Malley

Cherished gifts from my dad

A Father's Day tribute from Marc Skid's Founder

First, let me tell you a little about my father. His Irish heritage and the Marine Corp are probably two of the most cherished things in his life. But don’t ask about them -- you’ll need to cancel all your appointments for the day!

He's led an amazing life. By far, his best accomplishment was finding my mother (because that’s how my 3 sisters and I came to be).

Dad, from what I know, was never much for books. He preferred to study mischievousness and learn through his curiosity for all things. But perhaps one of his best traits is his almost “Rainman”-like ability to remember people, families, and situations. For example, he could name every child in his kindergarten class and every family on his boyhood paper route. In one infamous exchange, he corrected an adult friend from childhood who thought he had lived in one house but was reminded by my dad that he actually grew up in another!

His initial adult occupation was that of a plumber. However, his incredible ability to connect with people led him to a life of public service. Obviously, the traits of curiosity, sincerity, and that one-of-a-kind memory helped support that wonderful ability to connect with others.

For me, I’ve always felt like I’ve had big shoes to fill. As his son, two of the greatest gifts I received from him were a strong sense of curiosity and mischief. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the memory and now I’m subjected to one lifelong question: “How do you not remember that?”

However, the greatest gift that I’ve received from my Dad was that of empathy. A  couple of my father’s cherished pronouncements:

“Never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in his or her shoes,” “Everybody would be pretty if they could be.” 

To the numerous homeless that have received an infamous $2 bill from my Dad, he would say to anybody who demonstrates that the homeless person might use that cash to buy a beer, my father would answer, “If he does, I hope he enjoys that beer.”

Oh, yeah – that $2 bill? Yes, they are still being made and yes, my father still goes to the same bank teller to convert money into a wad of $2 bills knowing they can bring a little bit of excitement into anybody’s day. As his family, we have to listen to the constant inquiry, “Should I give this person a $2 bill?” Of course, this is a rhetorical question. We all already know his mind is made up to bestow that piece of legal tender upon the chosen recipient.

I first became a father eight months ago when my son Rowan was born. If I am half the Dad my own Dad was, I’ll consider myself a great success! I’m doing all the dad things like changing diapers, but those are not the things my son will remember when he is old enough to appreciate his own Dad. It’s the lessons by actions and the commonsense approach to teaching one’s child about life, this world, and our fellow human beings that will last and be cherished.

This Father’s Day I hope the gifts and memories from your fathers are as vivid and as dear to you as mine. I hope that everyone finds a little bit of his or her father’s wisdom in the Marc Skid brand and the wonderful trait of empathy, realizing that every day we can do more to make our Marc on the world

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