My Dad, Wesley Martin

I have one of those dads that you can’t get away from.  Let me explain.  There isn’t anything I see that doesn’t remind me of him.

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When Fall arrives and I see the colors, I think football.  Whether local ball, college or professional, he’s interested.  He knows all the mechanics and can tell you how to play each position.  After all, he WAS the quarterback for the Gainesville High School Red Elephants and coached many a kid in the 9-10 year old brackets in Gainesville.  Come game time as a kid, he would get low and say in a soft chant, “FOOTBALL…FOOTBALL…FOOTBALL.”  I loved it.

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Daddy loves to deer hunt.  It was a family affair growing up, not just a hobby or recreational sport.  Dad loves nothing more than puttin’ on camos and “slidin’ on out into the woods,” as he would say.  Besides being a great shot, he’s always known how navigate the land.  You’d think he was Native American…only tougher (my brother can testify to that).

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 Like the Jason Aldean song says, “And he takes the tractor another round,” something that I can see any day of the year and just picture Wes whipping the tractor around for the next pass.  Whether plowing, bush-hogging, or planting, that ol’ tractor reminds me of how natural he looks cuttin’ the rows into soil.

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I’ve never seen Dad with a new pair of gloves.  Every pair he owns—and he’s had hundreds—just seem to wear slap out.  You’ll find them rolled up into themselves and just inside the door panel of any car he owns.  Like a good pocket knife (something else that reminds me of him), he’s always said, “Son, you need to be ready for anything.”  My pair are in the side door, just not quite as worn out.

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I stood in line for 3 hours to get Gregg Allman’s autograph in his latest book.  Why?  Because I love the Allman Brothers.  Why?  Because I watched my dad come ALIVE when “Statesboro Blues” came on 96 Rock (“…pure rock’n’roll!” said the DJ).  Dad loves good rock’n’roll and raised me on Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, too (like any good dad would, ha ha).

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Church reminds me of ol’ Wes.  Whether singin’ under the arbor at Antioch Campmeeting or Sundays at Gainesville First UMC, my dad stays involved.  One of my most formative memories (something that speaks to me still today) is communion Sundays.  On the first Sunday of every month we go down to the altar to receive communion.  You’d kneel, take the bread, drink the juice, and then head back to your seat.  When you’d get there, though, you’d notice that dad was down at the altar, talking to God.  As a child, that changed me (and still gets me).  I picture Wes, even today, handing “life” over to the Good Lord and it encourages me to do the same.

Wesley Martin—an AWESOME dad.

Dad, I know you’ll read this sometime in the next couple of days.  I love you, man.  Thanks for letting me be “me.”  Thanks for putting up with all the talking, the hyperactivity, and the occasional wrong comment at the wrong time.  Thanks for showing me how to love my daughter.  The future is looking good.  You can count on me to “do right.”  You’ve shown me how.  Happy Father’s Day.

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Here’s dad in Nebraska a few years ago.  He had just killed a pheasant, then swung around and knocked down a quail, too.  Awesome.  You don’t wanna go up against Wes…

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