Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Heroes #2

One of my all time heroes is a man I look up to and love greatly, my dad, James R. Houtchens. [above-Dad, then and now]

Dad is the kind of person who is a genuinely good man. A gentleman, knowledgeable; one with a rather impish sense of humor with those who are close to him. He has an old fashioned sense of morals that did not change in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Being “bad” is not good; it’s just plain bad! He was 9 years old during WWII, and just missed the Korean War, but served in the army for a few years before beginning work at JC Penny’s as a retailer.

I was never a very good athlete, but dad was always there, cheering me on. He was there when I scored my only hockey goal as a 5th grader in Rhode Island, where I grew up as a boy. He volunteered to be a coach on my pee wee baseball team. I did not enjoy it that much because I was pretty hopeless as a baseball player. He would say things like, ”That’s the old college try!” and encourage me even when I screwed up royally. He watched my football games in high school and came to some band concerts. He came up to Maryville College for a couple games to watch me, even though I did not start. He came up to see me with Amy, my sister, even though it meant listening to her complain the entire trip up and back. Now that’s dedication!

I used to love to watch him make plastic model airplanes. We would sit in the basement in this small long room. Fluorescent lights buzzed in the air, and all sorts of contraptions were littered about the counters in his workshop. Dremel tools, air compressors, rock tumblers, you name it. He would sit and work and talk with me. That’s good father-son stuff. He even helped me make a model of Godzilla, one that glowed in the dark. Rarrr!

Dad is one of the hardest working people I have ever known, and I admire him a lot for this. He has an incredible work ethic, something that never quite rubbed off on me. I still remember weekends as a teenager on Peachtree Dunwoody Road, near Northside Hospital. For his “off time” from work, he would hit the yard with a vengeance. Raking the entire day, mortaring sidewalks, digging up the ground for an entire swimming pool… by himself, for crying out loud… with a shovel! Then in between chores he would mow the 1 acre lawn, the one with a 10 degree hill all along the side of the house. Did I mention that we had a push mower the first few years we lived there? Sometimes if he was lucky he could lure his slothful teenage son out there (me) to work at the seemingly futile task of keeping nature at bay. It was his own freaking proverbial Moby Dick. “Come on, Glenn, let’s get these leaves taken care of.” I would roll my eyes and help if he insisted. Why am I out here? I would ask myself. Amy gets to sit inside in the air conditioning and do her nails. I am not in the military. I don’t have any personal quarrel with these leaves.

All these times in retrospect are like pure gold to me. Dad has always stuck by my side through thick and thin. He has always loved me completely, accepted me unhesitatingly. Thank you, Dad. I love you very much. You are my hero.


Dianne Domeij said...

Glennie! It's cousin Di. I so much loved your blog...made me laugh and made me cry. You are an incredible writer and all that you write comes from your soul.
Love you tons!

G.Houtchens said...

Well, thank you so much !!!! Glad someone is reading this without worrying about my hurting someone's feelings. It is a creative outlet. As I have told my students, although writing is seen in school as being a chore, it can be, in fact, viewed as "painting with words." I am tradmarking that phrase. Everytime someone uses it, I want $100 in my bank. Think I will trademark writing in general as well. Think I will win in my lawsuit against all school systems all over the world?


G.Houtchens said...

By the way, the hurting someone's feeling remark was in refernce to one of my other comments in the Steve Austin vs. Michael Vick column.