Then he became a friend, helping me catch a baseball and teaching me how to box. He got me interested in cars, in vintage aircraft—helping me build models: he, doing much of the work and the finishing touches; me, playing with them and displaying them, like special trophies, on my bedroom shelves.
And then he moved in with us, was my mother's boyfriend, then husband. He went from the man who moved into my home to the man in whose house I lived, the man who took three kids on as his own.
He went from being referred to as my step-father to being the one I referred to as "my father" around my friends, even though I have always addressed him by his name, rather than by any title.
He taught me how to drive, helped me get my first, second, third, and more cars. He gave me my first camera, let me use his when I became good enough to entrust with it. He gave me my first glass of wine, my first sip of beer.
He was there when I got married, when my kids were born—to them, he is a in every way their grandpa.
He has played all of those roles, and more. And though he is still a friend, he is above all else, family. He is one with whom I can share a laugh, a serious discussion, a beer or a single-malt whisky, or a rant.
Happy Birthday, Greg.
|Game night, circa 1988.|