Some year ago Budweiser beer had a marketing campaign in which they profiled the not-so-average “Average Joes.” These Great American Heroes were humble, hard-working women and men who often go unnoticed but who make the world better. The commercials ended with a hoisted glass of frosty brew and saying, “Here’s to you. This Buds for you.”
My Dad, Don Sippy, was the guy in these commercials. He was one of the great American heroes who made the world better -- and not just for my family and me. My Dad truly made the world better. He was a “Good Dad.” My Dad taught me that I can be a “Good Dad,” too.
My Dad worked 44 years for the Boeing Company. He was a factory worker. It was not great or glamorous work. It wasn’t fun work. But it paid the bills and provided for his family. For my Dad, family always came first whatever the sacrifice.
The day my Dad retired I asked him, “Do you ever think you will miss working for Boeing?” We were drinking a beer, though not a Budweiser; it was a Pabst Blue Ribbon, I believe. My Dad just about choked. “Are you kidding? I worked for Boeing for 44 years because I loved my family not because I loved my job.” Point made.
My Dad accepted people as they were. He was patient and forgiving. I never heard my Dad say anything bad about anyone – not a preacher, a politician, and most certainly not my mother.
When I was 14, my Dad and Mom found me drunk in the woodshed. I don’t remember if I had been drinking Budweiser, or what. I do remember my Dad’s quiet disappointment. His heart was broken. But it was not because I was drunk. He was heartbroken because I had stolen the beer. “Get drunk if you must,” My Dad explained. “It’s foolish. But you never lie or steal.”
My Dad loved the sea. He always dreamed of owning a sailboat someday. He never did. When you are a good dad you make sacrifices. Your family comes first. But he did decorate the house in nautical décor, a ship’s wheel, and a replica of “Amanda Fenwick” on the wall (Google her). My Dad was content with simple things.
I learned to sail a few years ago. I even bought an old boat. Sailing has become for me a thousand metaphors and memories of my father. I don’t pull on a jib sheet without my Dad pulling at my heart. My Dad is still there for me. I am an average man, at best; sometimes a little less. But my Dad was a “Good Dad.” He is teaching me I can be a “Good Dad,” too.
So here’s to you Don Sippy and Good Dads everywhere, with sweet thoughts of Amanda Fenwick and childhood memories: This Buds for you.