A Public Shoutout to the Best Dad Ever

June rolls around as school ends and Father’s Day is jumbled in with everything else this time of year demands of us. A barbeque at my sister’s farm and a dip in her pool today commemorate not only Father’s Day but a couple of family birthdays also, including my dad’s.

My gift to my dad is nothing fancy. Heck, it isn’t even something a lot of people like–pickled eggs. I made two jars with beets and onions because my dad loves them. You can’t really buy them at the store and they’re easy to make. He will be thrilled and will act like I gave him a million dollars.

The gift of pickled eggs gives me pause to think about how unique my dad is, just like this weird gift. He is one of the most generous, reliable, hardworking people you will ever meet. Allow me to talk a little about my wonderful dad as we celebrate all dads this week.

My dad, Ted Gerhardt, was born in Philadelphia, the middle child of Charles and Hilde Gerhardt. He moved to New Jersey in elementary school and eventually settled into the home we affectionately called The Gingerbread House. He settled his family in the same small town also when he married.

He met my mom at church and they got married young in 1971. I came along in 1973, followed by a sister in 1976, and another sister in 1980. The three Gerhardt Girls wanted for nothing.

Accordion Bandits

We didn’t have a lot of money, but we were rich in our own way. My dad worked full-time and a part-time job or two for most of my childhood. He did this so my mom could stay home and take care of us. Somehow, he always had time for us despite working so hard.

I don’t remember him telling me he was too tired or busy to play. I don’t remember him complaining about work. He just did what he had to do.

He also did more than he had to do. We went on family vacations, to the park, and he coached our little league team for several years. He was serious about being a dad.

He taught us about saving, spending wisely, and how to get a bargain by using coupons. The value of hard work and honesty was something we learned from him as we navigated getting our first jobs as teenagers and working in adulthood too.

When I bought my first car, he coached me through it but didn’t do it for me. I saved up for a couple of years because he insisted that working and paying your own way developed character.

Satisfied that the yellow 1976 Chevy Nova was a “cream puff”, he told me what to offer the seller. He showed me how to check the oil and wipe the vinyl interior down with Armor All. I am grateful he taught me how to do things for myself.

Way back in the day.

Perhaps the greatest gift my dad gave to me is that he read to me. He read to me every single day. I had a bookshelf full of books because my parents felt it was important that I read. I credit my dad with the fact that I am a writer and an English teacher.

If he hadn’t invested so much time in reading to me, I wouldn’t have developed a love for it. My abilities in reading and writing are directly connected to this, which I am sure he had no idea about when he was doing it. He was just being a good dad.

Then he became an amazing grandparent. Gramps takes the grandkids fishing, leaves boxes of Lucky Charms hanging on our doorknobs, and treats us to pork roll sandwiches at Castle Harbor. He plans family vacations so we can all be in one place, all together like the good old days down at the Z Pool in Delaware. He’s an awesome Gramps.

In his well-deserved retirement, he volunteers for the food bank and helps the needy. He organizes luncheons with other retired people and pays my daughter way too much to feed the birds when he’s away in Florida all winter. He’s got a giving heart and everyone knows it.

I’m so grateful for a dad who loves his wife, kids, and grandkids. No matter how many times the kids tangle the fishing rods, he patiently untangles them and really believes we are going to catch a big striper with the next cast.

Thanks, Dad. I love you and am so grateful to be your daughter. I really hit the jackpot. Happy Father’s Day!

7 thoughts on “A Public Shoutout to the Best Dad Ever

  1. Wow ! I enjoyed reading about your
    dad . The apple doesn’t fall to far
    from the tree. You are who you are
    because of this special man .

  2. Thank you mom and I read it together
    ❤♥❤we love you
    My favorite picture is when did not
    get the egg at Easter

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