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Bob Grant

A Father’s Day Tribute

June 22, 2009

Thanks to Chris Ruddy, the chief at Newsmax, I am going to share this with all the readers of I don’t know Lisa Richards, but I would like to meet her and, of course, her dad some day.

Bob Grant

Straight Ahead!

To My Father: Happy Father’s Day

By Lisa Richards
June 21, 2009

I’m blessed to have a father who truly is what a father should be: loyal husband, dedicated father, and devoted friend to all who know him. I’m fortunate to be the daughter of a man who is not just my father, but my friend.

Growing up we never wanted or needed for anything, dad made sure we were provided for. If times were down and building houses — dad’s business — was slow, dad did whatever it took to provide. That included opening a health food store and photo shops, which were profitable in the 1970’s and 80’s. Family came first above what dad loves to do: building houses and drawing cartoons.

Before I entered school, I went to work every day with my father. For the health food store we drove to Hunts Point Market New York City to get organic fruit and veggies. Dad had a Dodge van. On the radio was talk radio. There was no Rush or Sean then; Bob Grant was king and dad loved Bob. By age four I was well aware of politics because of dad and Bob. Dad would laugh hysterically, slapping his knee as he drove, when Bob would tell some 60’s liberal hippie to “put your teeth in backwards and chew,” or “go gargle with Drano.”

Of course I repeated Bob’s rhetoric to my brothers when I got home. Mom would say: “I take it you and daddy were listening to Bob today.”

By the time I was four I was a Goldwater girl because Dad and mom’s values were very traditional, Christian American. The liberal hippie generation was unleashed, but never accepted in our home. Mom and dad reared with discipline and old-fashioned values. Not to mention razors and soap, and bras for me.

My father was a church elder until ten years ago. I was raised in a Biblical-based house. Dad never slammed the Bible over our heads or forced Bible studies on us, he taught us kids the scriptures, always making sure we knew “Jesus loves us.” And he taught us well without legalism or hell-fire.

In the 1970’s, a church sermon was given on rock n’ roll music: it was the devil’s music and kids with Rolling Stones or Beatle’s records would suffer God’s wrath. On the way home my older brother and I were silent and scared: we had the Stones, Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles and the Kinks. Were we going to hell?

Dad interrupted the silence, telling us rock n’ roll was not evil and God would not strike us dead for listening to Mick Jagger: “In my day, I listened to the Big Bopper and Jerry Lee Lewis.” Dad and mom still listen to Jerry Lee.

Just don’t ask dad to dance, he never liked it. He danced at his wedding to mom, but that’s it for dancing. Dad loves to listen and tap his feet.

Dad loves rockabilly, jazz, country and Mozart. He’s a fan of the New York Yankees, Giants, and UConn Women’s Basketball. He grew up in a family of golf pros but never took up the game. Dad’s an artist and writer. He loves gardening, cartooning, and writing over playing sports. But his favorite hobby is grocery shopping.

He played with us kids: sledding, building igloos and tree houses. We spent every summer on Block Island with dad helping us build sand castles and playing in the surf as mom looked on from the shore yelling out: “Don’t drown yourselves!” Mom would always say she had a fourth child: her husband Dave whom she calls “Rick” (short for last name).

My brothers and I grew up on a farm as dad did. He taught us to take care of animals and garden. I still garden with dad, who loves designing them. Animals are still a part of family life. I’ve never seen an animal that didn’t take to my father, including his two month-old baby Rottweiler: “daddy’s baby.”

I’ve never met a person who didn’t love dad and call him friend. Everyone loves dad. He’s kind, calm, friendly, understanding and easy to be around, always there to help neighbors in need. He’s not a snob, he’s real, a traditional conservative with originalist constitutional beliefs he instilled in his three children.

Dad never minces words. If something is not right he says so. He doesn’t hold back on calling wrong, wrong. He respects but he doesn’t tolerate or simply accept to avoid hurt feelings. He taught my brothers and me to do the same.

Dad is laid back plaid flannel shirts and khaki pants with Topsiders or Penny Loafers. He has two beautiful pinstripe suits hanging in the back of his closet collecting dust. Suits and ties are abhorred: “I hope I don’t have to put on a suit for this event,” he states when some shindig comes up. Mom always replies that he looks handsome in a suit. Dad responds,“I’m not wearing a suit. I’ll wear khakis and a dress shirt. I’m not going to be uncomfortable.”

At my parent’s wedding dad did not wear a tux; he wore his Sunday church suit. We have one photo of dad in a tux he was forced to wear to an event. “Dad’s wearing a tux? Wow, get a picture!” Not only did he wear it, he had to rent “wasted money.” “You better get your picture now,” he told mom, “This is the only time you’ll ever see me in a tux.” “What will you wear when our daughter gets married?” mom asked. Dad answered with a smile, “jeans, sneakers and my red flannel shirt.”

Dad turned 76 this spring, but looks 50. Those who don’t know his age assume he’s only 50. He still loves to work. When not working he’s reading, writing, cartooning, or, like me, glued to Fox News and talk radio.

Dad’s office library looks like a bookstore: conservative books, history books, famous cartoonists books, art books, archeology, etc, stacks of CD’s and more Bibles than the Vatican, dating back to the 1800’s from ancestors.

We kids are grown but still very close to dad. We still ask dad’s advice on everything despite our ages. Dad always knows best and his advice continuously comes straight from the Bible. His prayers are always for his family. He still puts himself last.

If not for my father I wouldn’t have a college education. I wouldn’t have anything. My father made sure I had everything I wanted growing up, and continues championing me in all I do. I wouldn’t be a writer if not for dad’s support that began when I was in second grade writing short stories. He knew I was a writer and encouraged me to follow my dreams and never give up. He and mom are my biggest fans.

Everyone tells me dad brags to all about my columns. Mom always declares how proud dad is of me, that he believes I can do anything.

I owe my father much, but he asks nothing in return from his children, just wants our love and friendship. He has that unconditionally. He’s the best father any child could ask for.

My brothers and I are blessed, very blessed, and we know it. For us Father’s Day is every day.

Lisa Richards

Copyright © June 21, 2009 All Rights Reserved



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