It's 8:30 am. I started writing at 8:00 am. Thirty minutes have gone by and I still can't find the words. The truth is I simply don't know how to thank him. How to describe him. If you know Mikie McKinney, the man who I am lucky enough to have had as a Father figure through out my life, you know there's no one on Earth like him. Since I was just a little girl, there has not been one other person that I have looked up to more than him. He has been the only Dad I have ever known. The only Dad I would care to know. Being that by blood, he is my uncle, he never HAD to be my Dad. He could simply be that really cool uncle I know, but he stepped in and fulfilled that roll without hesitation. Some of my favorite memories when I lived with Mommy were of Mikie coming to pick me up and take me to the little country store down the road, Holt's Market. I know I've told this story before, but when it's a favorite, I believe it's aloud to be told more than once. He would pick me up in an old truck, or his car hauler, or wrecker. There's something comforting about the smell of an old truck to me. I can't even describe it. I guess it just smells like oil and hard work. I can still hear the sound of the truck. That old truck sound, like it could fall apart at any moment, but it didn't. It always got us to where we needed to be, like Holt's Market. I guess this is why I love old country stores. There's no better ham sandwich than the one you can get there. He would always get me a ham sandwich, a snickers bar, and a Pepsi. Oh...and my favorite part....a lottery ticket. Such a simple memory. So many of my childhood memories seem so jumbled, but this is one I can always remember so clearly. Driving around and spending days with Mikie and my other uncles and that old truck smell were some of my happiest times. I know later in Mommy's life, she talked about where I would go if anything happened to her. There was never a question about where I wanted to go, where she wanted me to be. Just before she passed away, the question came up of where I needed to be. The dr's asked me where I wanted to go and I instantly knew. He just responded with "I told Mommy that I would always take care of her." Now, being older, I realize what an impossible situation I put him in. Did he really have a choice with my big hazel eyes looking up at him? He stood by his word and he stood by me. No matter what impact it had. He was going to take care of me. It was a change that transformed my life. He is funny. This is one of those obvious characteristics about Mikie that everyone knows. To prove my point, I will list some common Mikie-isms that I grew up hearing and still hear to this day...
*Me: "Wow that's awesome!" Mikie: "Who killed a possum?"
*Me: "It's hot in here." Mikie: "Your just a hot item."
*Words of advice to my college friends..."Boys are like buses, you hop off one and another will come around."
*When talking about work... "Can't live on love all your life" or "Somebody's gotta work for a living"
*He's called every boyfriend I've ever had a "hairy-leg" or if he didn't like them it was "old DH"...I won't say what DH stands for. lol.
*He can never remember my friends names, so he makes nicknames for them. My favorite was Amy's. He called her Hollywood.
*He picked Bret as his son-in-law. Well, it was with something he commonly did when we were out and about to embarrass me "So, I'm looking for a son-in-law." Bret was the first one I actually knew and wasn't a stranger. Mikie didn't know what to think when Bret said "Well, I've been trying, but she won't have anything to do with me."
*The best were all the songs he use to make up. I can't for the life of me remember the words, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mikie was in the shower and I heard singing coming from the bathroom.
He is strong. I have never met anyone with so many interesting, but heart breaking stories. I love sitting and listening to them. He has been on his own, working, since he was 11. He has built a great life for himself and our family on his own. His life could've taken so many wrong directions, but he didn't let it. He works harder than anyone I've ever met and loves it. Hard work is his first love. The most amazing thing about what he does as a Dad is that no one was there to show him what a Dad is suppose to do. He has been learning it along the way with an open heart from the love of Erica, me, Keisha, Myca, and Macy, and Abe.
He is generous and kind. He would literally give the shirt off his back. He would give away everything if he didn't realize long ago how and who will take advantage of you. The way he shows love is by giving. I don't know how many times I've heard "Do you need any money?" I swore that when I got out of college, that answer would never be "yes" again, but I know if it were, he wouldn't hesitate if he had it.
He is protective. When Bret called and asked if he could propose to me, Mikie's answer was simply "You better never hurt her".
He will even get his nails painted. One of Myca's favorite things to do is paint nails and do make-up. I don't know how many times I've seen Mikie's nails painted (okay...he may kill me for that one). It absolutely melts my heart though. The best is every year he dresses up with Myca and now Macy for Halloween. They've been Pooh and the honey pot, Mickey and Minnie, and the list goes on.
Happy Father's Day to all you daddy's out there. Happy Father's Day to my wonderful father-in-law, Read. Hope I'm always your favorite daughter-in-law ;)