My favorite hobby as a kid was magic. Mark Wilson, Marshall Brodein, Doug Henning, Houdini…each inspired me with how they made the impossible appear possible. I loved their television specials, and was the prime demographic for their commercials for their portable magic sets, TV Magic Cards, etc. that these guys would hawk, so I could be just like them in my own house.
I would create elaborate stage sets in our basement, draping towels over TV trays, using tricks I bought at Snyder Drug or made out of something I found in storage. I was ready at a moment’s notice to put on a show. Some things never change!
This Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad for helping me to be a better magician. He would spend hours helping me to build awesome tricks. For starters, he would cut a piece of plywood into a rectangle and insert a dowel on its bottom so it would fit perfectly into a music stand, creating a portable magician’s table. The faded red bath towel placed over it would have a secret pocket on its backside, created with safety pins, perfect for dropping the disappearing ball into!
I loved the plywood box he made that had front and back doors on it, with a circle cut in the front door. I could shove all kinds of stuff into that hole and then open the front and back doors, spinning the box on its music stand base, revealing the box to be completely empty. He painted the entire inside black (to hide the secret compartments) and the outside was a dark red, that gave it a mysterious Far East look to it.
Dad’s are visioncasters. They help you see that life can be bigger and better than you imagine. But they don’t just tell you about it, they get down there with you and help guide your steps, helping you pound the nails, until you can find your way, and pound your own.
My dad coached Little League teams, taught me to drive, how to play golf, helped me craft my Pinewood Derby cars for Cub Scouts, made camping a family value, and helped me build crazy magic tricks. He prayed for me, and told me that he did. And he cast a vision for the godly life he desired for me. I still look to my dad, a lot like I did when I was a little kid, imagining what it will be like to be big and strong like him one day.
Thank you, Dad, for living your life selflessly, so our family could have everything we ever dreamed of, and more. But especially for helping me build my magic tricks. When I was just an obnoxious, pretentious kid, seeking attention with a strange hobby, you jumped in and helped me feel not so strange. Even though you might not have understood my weird obsession with magic, you believed in me, and worked to help me be better, investing your time, making me feel like I was worth something.
You showed me that even the craziest dreams are worth investing in—and you are still doing that today. Some things never change.