Dan the Man
His long, glowing white beard is the first thing you'll notice about him. Only to be offset by his bald head; that is, if he doesn't have his over-sized black beanie covering it.
Currently he'll also be in a slightly-immodest black house coat, trimmed in white. It's a stunning picture. Although you can see there is something wrong with him (evidenced by a housecoat at 2:00 in the afternoon & medical equipment dangling from his arm) he is still regal, confident & self-assured.
The man who quit his successful career to raise his little girl, only to have her snatched away at 5 by her absentee mother.
The man who resurrected many failing restaurants and opened several of his own. Working endless hours because that's what you do. You work hard. You offer your best.
(Maybe it was the influence of his dad, the traveling candle salesman. Or perhaps the untimely death of his mom that inspired him to live such a full life.)
The man whose eye for beauty & design could land him in the company of high brow designers, yet, he prefers the company of gardeners, country-folk and the "salt of the earth".
The man who, when I first met him, loved shoes, but only two kinds. White, high-topped Reeboks. Or cowboy boots. And, I thought he only owned black turtlenecks for a while. (Tucked into his high-waisted stone-washed jeans, of course.)
The man who hangs a painting of a dead pheasant over his mantel, but who can regularly be caught tearing up over a sentimental chick-flick.
The man who writes soulful poetry, meticulously waters his perfect yard & dreams of buying and fixing up yet another house.
The man who looks more like Santa than Santa himself. Especially the Christmas he disappeared for a while, only to saunter around the corner in a bright red Santa suit.
This is the man who is now padding around his yard in a short housecoat, only able to be on his feet for short spurts of time, attached to medical equipment that limits him. You will notice something is wrong, but, you will be confused by the way he still looks you straight in the eye. The way he still asks how you are, and never fails to check about your family as well. The man who gently insists you wash the dishes a particular way, and then shares his deep life struggles with you the next moment.
My step, father-in-law. Dan. You won't be able to categorize him. But you will be charmed by him. You'll think you've figured him out, and then he'll surprise you with tales of military life & the church elder board.
Dan. A different kind of father to me. A man I am proud to know. A man I admire. Dan the man.