The model of the man

By Jacob Brooks
The model of the man

Dad, me, my brother Josh, Mom, cowboy hats, a Ford truck, America.

The earliest memory I have of my father comes from when I was right around 4 years old. It was late at night, and I had been tucked into bed. I had received both servings of “night-night sugars” from Mom and Dad, and I had been instructed to “sleepy good.” For some reason though, I couldn’t fall asleep. I lay there mulling over all the things I had to get done the next day: build a fort, be a cowboy, stop a bank robbery, hit a homerun in the last game of the World Series. I had my hero work cut out for me, so I was trying to prepare myself mentally.

Out of nowhere, I heard a noise. My background as a detective led me to believe the noise was coming from the living room; I decided to investigate. I crawled out of bed, peaked around the corner, and slowly headed into the living room. As I made my way, I could see my father sitting on the couch munching on popcorn and drinking orange Kool-Aid, which has always been a staple in the Brooks household. He was sitting there enthralled by “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The scene looked quite welcoming, so I decided to edge closer. I knew going closer would put me at risk. Heck, I was supposed to be counting sheep at this point. Crawling out of bed at midnight would not bode well for my rear end. I decided to press my luck anyway.

I began taking very careful steps, inching towards him. I did my best not to make a sound. Unfortunately, I had left my cowboy hat lying on the floor after a rough day of working on the ranch — a rookie mistake. I accidentally kicked it and made a noise. My father instantly turned to identify the noise; I knew I was in trouble. He looked at me with piercing eyes and said, “Come here, Jacob.”

At this point in my life, I was relatively new to the world, but I had been around the block a time or two. I knew what was coming. I lowered my head and eased forward. I anticipated being scooped up and carried back to bed, but I was surprised when Dad scooped me up and placed me beside him on the couch. He put his arm around me and handed me his popcorn bowl. We watched movies all night until I fell asleep.

My father is a man who has always been slow to anger but willing to speak his mind. He never lets anyone run him over, but always puts his needs after the needs of others. He is a man of integrity who taught me that respect is not always earned but automatically given. He has reminded me that a strong work ethic and an honest heart are the only two attributes anyone can really take to the bank.

Dad has always been my hero. He has taught me everything from how to drive a tractor and work a circular saw, to how to add multi-digit numbers. He was a baseball coach who would jump down my throat after I missed a fly ball, but he has been a friend I can call on if I ever need any advice. My father is the model of the man I hope to become. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.

To all the dads out there, Happy Fathers Day! May God bless you all.

About the Author

Jacob Brooks, sponsored by Blue Ridge Electric, was national spokesman for the electric cooperatives’ Youth Leadership Council. He attends Appalachian State University.

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