Monday, October 8, 2012

Giving Thanks

I am Canadian. Je suis Canadienne. In honor of the Canadian Thanksgiving today, I'm going to honor someone I love dearly and respect highly. I am supremely thankful for my father-in-law, Daryl Widney (aka Fly Guy).

There are precious few men in this world who are as amazing and generous as Fly Guy. Fly Guy is not one of those guys that give kisses and bear hugs. He doesn't open his mouth and say "I love you" every time. But he does show his love in many ways.

Following are excerpts from text messages I sent to my father-in-law recently...

For what it is worth, you may not have hugged me much in the last 14 years but here are my memories of how you told me you love me in your language. You could not have loved me like this if you had sat on your butt and never worked hard to eventually own your own companies. Thank you, Fly Guy. I love you back!

Experiences your love and genuineness of heart gave to me (and many of these you also gave to the rest of your family):

- telling me if I can't be your daughter-in-law I would just have to be your daughter,

- inviting me to live with your family when J and I got engaged,

- trekking me all across Texas where you had me sample foods I never heard of before,

- flying me around the country in helicopters and private jets,

- showing me off-shore drilling rigs,

- taking me to oil and gas well sites (I have not forgotten the rattlesnake scare you gave me in the Pecos desert),

- explaining the petroleum, and aeronautical industries to me,

- taking me to a flight simulator facility,

- being proud to introduce me to your millionaire friends,

- taking me to Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and all over Oklahoma,

- taking time to teach me stuff about everywhere you took me,

- watching you engage with children (not just my own),

- being an amazing grandfather to my kids,


- Driving a Hummer around town
- Me, off-roading to an oil well in a HUMMER!!!
- Riding Harley's

My first 4th of July was spent on a speed boat, a yacht and a BIG yacht on Grand Lake with fireworks and the fighter jets flying over!

Vegas, Baby!!! How could I possibly forget Vegas! Grand Canyon was fogged in but you still took me there.

- The Jag (my company car)
- Scooters
- Horses
- 4-wheelers
- Dirt bikes
- The boat
- That swing by the pond!!!

Oh! Who rides a bulldozer? Much less gets to rip out a tree and help dig a pond that her kids now LOVE to fish in?!

- Shooting guns. A 9-millimeter at that.

- Karaoke. So I don't sing well but it sure was fun.

- The farm with Kent and Gene. The cows. Calf fries.

- Flying a plane to/from the farm. Me. Flying a plane!

You treat my son's birth mom's girls like your own grand children. They call you "Grandpa!"

- Disney World
- Daytona Beach
- Emory Riddle
- 5 star hotels
- Top restaurants
- Pensacola trips x2
- Flying across country in a helicopter
- Cirque du Soleil Disney
- Downtown Disney
- Universal Florida
- Flying the coast line in a helicopter
- 2 helicopter conventions

- Bristol Tennessee to the Bell helicopter facility. Um. WoW! Flying in a corporate jet with execs then being picked up by 2 massive helicopters and flown to the Bell facility for the day. Um. Wow!

- Night vision goggles
- Laser
- Magnetic ball thing

This Canadian girl had never seen:
- the Continental Divide,
- the Mississippi River,
- the White Water Scandal river,
- the Tennessee mountains,
- the Rockies,
- swamp land in Mississippi,
- or forest fires.

- Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert!!! And dinner at Nonna's! That was one of the best nights ever as a family!!!!!

- Dinner in OKC with the Walkingsticks after great-Grandma's funeral. YOU paid for EVERYone's meal - your wife's siblings and spouses and kids!!!!!!!

The trip to Colorado was amazing for me. You took the time to explain all kinds of stuff to me. History, where we were, details, so much knowledge imparted on me.

Colorado Springs is one of my FAVORITE places and a DREAM living destination because you took me there and told me about it.
- Breckinridge, Denver, Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods.

- A volcano!!! You took me to a volcano!

I LOVE Blue Angels because you introduced flying to my son and took us to my first American air shows.

Yeah, you've given me a few hugs and said you love me a few times but I never needed that to know you valued hard work, respect, people who think and question, honesty, integrity. You taught it by giving of the fruit of your labor.

Footnote: This list may seem materialistic. It is NOT. This recognizes that everyone has their own love language. Their own way of saying they love and care about you. Their own way of hearing and receiving your love. This is the love language of my father-in-law. I think he has spoken volumes.

Thank you, Fly Guy! The Chicago Widneys love you back!

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