As my dad’s time winds down on this planet — and with the unexpected death of my stepmother Karen two weeks ago — I feel like this Christmas is the appropriate time for this column.
I know I don’t write many columns — as Ricky D and Will E would remind me often — but then, who really needs or cares for my opinion — the same reason you can’t find me on social media.
But, I digress.
Throughout my life, my dad certainly had his challenges with me (unlike my sister Mindy) — and to the end he has been up to every one of them.
If he didn’t already know — and he probably did — he learned it at one of our many family gatherings at Uncle Mack and Aunt Marys former residence — and I would be remiss if I didn’t say how lucky I have been to be part of the Meyer and Kiser family, which included amazing celebrations on the holidays.
You see, the property was located just east of where Northmont High School is currently located.
Being the age of nine or 10 — and being easily bored — my cousin Den (his being lefthanded was probably a big part of the problem) and I decided to walk down St. Rt. 40 into Englewood.
We weren’t quite into Englewood when some relatives discovered we were missing and set off in a car to find us.
Imagine my surprise in my dad’s anger when he found out the danger we had put ourselves in.
In all fairness dad, you did say yes when I asked if we could go for a walk — and it was you and Uncle Joe Kiser who were always telling us kids to go play in the street.
I guess I should have specified it was going to be down a major highway and not in the orchard behind the house.
But, as always, you made sure the punishment would be sufficient that I would never try that again.
I am sure that I had plenty of other experiences like that I don’t even remember.
I remember the time I nearly ran over you with the riding mower when you lived on County Line Road — although after it was over, you didn’t see the humor in it as much as I did.
My other memory of that property is the nine-hole chipping course you put in to help with my short game.
I remember Karen not exactly being thrilled when you got the hole digger out and put nine holes in various places in her yard.
It wasn’t unusual for me to play those holes 15-20 times on a weekend — a love for the game I still haven’t lost.
The holes were of various lengths — some as short as 20 yards and the signature closing hole — which was approximately 90 yards.
The hole was located just beyond the driveway.
Anything short was considered a hazard — off the driveway would lead to the ball ricocheting out of bounds (into the neighbors yard 10 yards behind the hole).
My short game definitely suffered when you moved away from that property.
It must have been frustrating for someone who was as good an athlete as you (verified by your induction in to the Bradford Hall of Fame) to have someone who struggled with basketball and baseball as much as I did.
Yet, you and my mom (Virginia) supported me no matter how many times I got cut — or how many routine fly balls I missed.
I remember you breaking out in hives any time I had any kind of academic problem at school (and there were a few).
When I turned four years of college into six (isn’t that what everybody does) — both mom and you supported me through all of that.
I also remember all the times you had to go out at a moment’s notice — being on call 24/7 as a D.P. & L lineman — without hesitation to restore people’s power.
Didn’t matter if it was 3 a.m. — or a below zero wind chill on Christmas Eve.
You also served Rotary President at West Milton — and would donate your time to help with Christmas lights.
Your all too happy to serve the community and where ever you have lived, your yard needed to be spotless — and still is.
I will be honest, your mowing multiple times a week really wasn’t passed on to me — once a week is enough golf time lost.
Then there were the three passions we shared throughout.
First and foremost — the Browns.
Boy do I miss the 80s and beating the Bungals and Squeelers senseless twice a year.
Rarely do we agree what the problem has been for the last 20 years — but we both agree there has been a problem.
From the time I was in high school, we made the journey to the boys state basketball tournament — until your health wouldn’t allow it several years ago.
First, there couldn’t have been a better group of guys to experience the state tournament with — I know I will leave a few names out (I apologize in advance), but Amos Johns, Jan Christian, Chuck and Johnny Beeman, Chalmer Fisher and Paul Bodenmiller to name a few.
Those were some great times.
Once again, you and I didn’t always agree — like when you weren’t all that impressed with LeBron James (I guess I did get that one right). But you are an old-school guy — and LeBron is anything but that.
We also rarely agreed on who the better team was — but you were probably right more often than me.
Then there was the time we spent on the golf course — I cherish all those times we had, not that there weren’t a few disagreements.
Like why my club was always slipping out of my hand when I hit a bad shot.
You let it go the time I threw my wedge into the pond and couldn’t find it (how did I know it was going to bounce off that slope and into the water).
You still shake your head every time one of my club throwing stories is told — not that I would do anything like that now.
No matter how insignificant my golf accomplishments are — some second flight titles and one hole-in-one — mom and you always treated it like I won the Masters.
And while I am not Ohio State fan — and it is best just to keep quiet about that in this family — even I know anything from Ohio tops Kentucky (my brother-in-law Tim knows I am right).
As for my writing career, I think that is what you are most proudest of.
My two Ohio Prep Sportswriter of the Year awards and several first places in the AP contest — really didn’t mean so much to me, except for the fact it meant so much to mom and you.
Which is why I am thankful that both of you were there when I received the Southwest District Media Award and was inducted in to the Covington Athletic Hall of Fame (kind of ironic for someone with no athletic ability, I apologize to all those great athletes who have my name listed with theirs).
And in closing dad — as difficult as the last two weeks have been — it also made me realize how important it is to write to write this now, while the person it is meant for is still here to read it.
So, here is to you, with love, on Christmas.