I would like to wish all of you fathers out there a very happy Father’s Day! I would like to highlight two important fathers in my life….my dad, Walt Neitzke, and my husband, Rich Messina.
My dad was born shortly after WWII and was raised as a young boy with a Navy pilot dad. He has an older sister, a younger sister, and two younger brothers. The moved around from places like Pensacola to San Diego and Hawaii, with home always being rural Michigan. He met my mom at Breckenridge High School and when he joined the army as a career after college, she went with him. My dad was an airborne ranger…that is code speak for “bad ass” as far as military standards go. I remember going to watch him jump when he was on the jump team with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC as a kid. He told me later on that he wasn’t fond of heights. He hated being at the top of the Eiffel Tower….yet he could hurtle himself out of a perfectly good airplane. My dad worked a lot and he expected a lot from his kids. I still don’t have lampshades in my house to this day because of having to dust the pleated lampshades growing up. That is okay because it was a lesson learned. Every time we moved, my parents would pull out the new yellow pages and search for the nearest Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. We would find a church home…and make it a church family by being actively involved. He was a strong leader of our family and provider. Now he is a gentler man, slowed by age and a mind that is unfortunately fading faster than his body is. Love you, Dad. This photo is of the two of us taken 5 years ago or so.
Rich, my husband, where do I even begin? He has worked so hard to provide for his three kids and me. He worked in the Air Force for over two decades and then went into business for himself…with no retail experience, and has made a really good go of it. Although sometimes I feel like he is a little kid in an adult man’s body, he makes sure that there is a competitive feel for just about anything…board games, exercise, joke telling…etc. He keeps life interesting and has taken all of us around the world where we have learned about new languages, cultures, and foods. (seriously…the kids have been to about 2 dozen countries and he and I have been to about 45) Let’s put it this way….if you are walking through the forest and there is a vine hanging from a tree….you can just about bet that Rich is going to swing on it. Road less traveled? He’s going to take it and drag you along with you. You are guaranteed to have a story when you are done. I have hundreds of those stories and so do the kids. When we all get together and remanence about those crazy stories….it is just the best. So happy Father’s Day to my favorite guy…the father of my kids, Rich. Here is a picture of Rich living his dream weekend playing in an over 40 hockey tournament this past weekend in Omaha. That grin says it all. Love you!