By Samantha McKenzie
Although my father is deceased, I must admit, he was the best dad a girl like me could have. He drank himself into a stupor some days, would be at the local spot betting on the horse races on others and would watch football every Sunday like it was his religion. Baseball season was no different.
My dad had a heart of gold. He wasn’t always responsible and by no means was he the perfect father, but I sure felt loved beyond measure. Christmas was sometimes lean and we never went to Disney World, but as a family we made our own magic. He provided a tender love inside our home that will forever linger and an experience of good old-fashioned laughter that still fuels our family conversations.
He taught me traits of good character, like being honest, even when it hurts because he despised a liar. He taught me about loving thy neighbor and would fumble around for the change in his pocket to give to someone else in need. This was his testimony. He gave without reservation and never scorned someone who was less fortunate. “You don’t know their story, but everybody has one,” he’d say. He was genuine and kind and heartfelt and could tell a joke without blinking an eye and leave his captive audience in stitches.
My dad taught me to find the joy in the day and not to take life too seriously. He made friends wherever he went. Even when he was in his last stages of cancer, he had the nurses at the hospital caring for him long after their shifts had ended. The doctors and janitors too. He was loved by everyone.
If I had to measure his worth by this world’s standards, I’m sure he’d fall short. But if love were the true yardstick, he’d shine every time. I tell my children as often as I can every story I can remember about their grandfather. I want them to know where their goodness comes from. I want them to know about the things that really matter in life – like spreading your joy, caring for others, sharing your kindness and loving life unapologetically.
I am forever grateful for my dad — Rudolph McKenzie — the man God chose for us. He offered the best part of himself and that was good enough for me.