Today I honor my dad, Bill Johnson, for being a great dad. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but I’ve learned so much from him over the years.
My earliest memories of my dad was a house full of music. He’d put on the latest album – Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, Kingston Trio – and blast the volume. I’m sure I danced around the house to the beat. As I grew older, dad would teach me about the music. I learned who wrote the songs, what they were about, who the studio musicians were, why the person/group was talented, etc. I didn’t always agree with his taste, but I always respected his opinion. It took me many years to begin to appreciate the vast talent of Bob Dylan, one of his favorites, but I now understand why he is such a great artist even if I don’t like all of the music.
Dad loved to fish and we spent many summers at Kimberling Oaks Resort where dad could fish and I could play in the pool. We’d rent a cabin and spend the weekend there with my grandparents. The adults would put my sister and I to bed and stay up until the wee hours playing cards. I loved the smell of chlorine, suntan lotion, charcoal smoke and cigarette smoke all combined. Yes, it sounds really gross, but I have so many great memories associated with those summers. Later, we had a pop-up trailer we’d take to Bennett Springs or Roaring River. By that time I was getting older and the novelty was wearing off. Plus, I had to sleep with my sister and I didn’t want anything to do with her then!
Dad was always a snappy dresser, like my grandfather. I remember a closet full of sport coats, ties, dress shoes and slacks. When he later founded a janitorial business, his attire became much more casual, but dad always knew how to put himself together for an occasion. I loved all the wide polyester knit ties he had in the 70s. The bright colors were so cool!
I learned a lot about nutrition and health from him too. As a teen, I remember he had a subscription to Muscle and Fitness magazine and I’d look at all the photos of the bodybuilders. Dad would go downstairs to his basement gym, put on a pair of headphones and crank up the music while he worked out. Later, he’d come upstairs for a protein shake, which I thought was so gross. Funny, because I drink at least one day now! His dedication to his health has continued and he’s in the best shape of his life today. Good thing too because his good health allowed him to quickly battle throat cancer last winter. He’s in good health now and I’m really proud of his hard work.
Dad, we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye but I’ve always respected your opinion and honestly. Happy Father’s Day. I love you very much.
Dad and I on June 26, 1970, my 4th birthday.