How many 83-year-old men do you know that…
Do their own taxes, mow their lawn, do all the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, go to the gym and then consider it “just in a days work”.
Well, if you do, then you must know Big Al. Most people call him amazing, but I am privileged to call him dad!
By definition, most little girls view their daddies as the Best in the World. But I wonder how many can look back, half a life-time later, and still whole heartedly, claim that to be true. Well, this daughter for decades can! As the eldest child of a Master Carpenter, I assumed everybody’s Daddy built their house, then built the furniture to go inside, and because daddies love their little girls so much; they design and construct a two-story playhouse for the backyard. Oh, your daddy didn’t do that? I soon learned my dad was not one in a million, he’s one-of-a-kind!
He continues to be the most consistent, giving, and sacrificial person I know. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – what you see is what you get. He gives graciously to those he calls his own. His time, talk, and talents are valuable resources to our family. While my mom may be wheelchair bound,due to her M.S., that does not stop my dad from exercising her legs daily as her Personal Trainer, never taking a sick/vacation day.
Providing 100% care for his lovely wife of 47 years, he is dedicated. Thankfully, he is caring for himself, too. Dad works out at the Gym, faithfully 3 times a week…every week…for the last 55 years! This is not an exaggerated truth… Growing up I knew that if an event fell on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday night, it would have to be a major one if I expected my dad to attend. Those were his gym nights:7pm-9pm. It was the one area he gave to himself and we all understood and supported the importance in keeping that time sacred. I recall, my mom saying with a smile, “Thank God your sister was born on a Thursday.”
I always believed my dad was cool for going to the gym. But what was even cooler is that he worked out at the Hollywood YMCA. In my young mind, this practically made him famous. Why Hollywood? Well that’s the gym that was near his apartment when he became a member back in his 20’s. He made friends there, he liked it there, so he stayed there. After a while, they stopped charging him a membership fee and gave him a sleeveless shirt that read “Instructor”. I know, seriously, the coolest guy ever!
To this very day, he still works out at this iconic location.
About 2 years ago, my son, Ryan, and I were driving home from a commercial audition in such city. Ryan said, “Hey, it’s Friday, let’s skip the traffic and go visit Papa at the gym.”
Oh my! In all my life, I never once thought about actually going there.
But, then again, never did I think I would move back under my parents roof with my 2 teenaged sons, but I did, just weeks before. (And if Dad could survive that shock with such grace and understanding, he most likely would come through with flying colors on this one too.)
The young guy at the Sign-in Desk had never heard of Al Preston. Both Ryan and I stood motionless, both secretly wondering if we were in the wrong place. The complete shock on my face must have jarred this new employee a bit, for he encouraged us to walk around freely to look for him. Ryan instinctively meandered our way through staircases and hallways, until we arrived in the Weight Room. While I knew my dad might very well have a heart attack once seeing us here on his sacred ground, I figured, in the end, after all these years, that’s probably how he would prefer to go. Hahaha
Thankfully, it was a pleasant surprise and I’m not sure who was more proud; my son seeing his pumped-up Grandfather in action, or my dad introducing his strong young Grandson around to his buddies. This trip was well worth the dot on our unpredictable Timeline of Life’s Significant Events.
And just when we all thought he couldn’t get any cooler. Last week, he came home from Big 5 with “Skate Shoes”! When I saw them sitting in the living room, I felt irritated as I wondered which one of my boys left for the weekend and didn’t put their shoes away.
The next time I saw those shoes, they were attached to my dad’s feet as he
was walking out to go to the gym. He even got complements on them from his buddies in the Weight Room.
He says he got them because they were soft and flexible, as well as on Sale.
Well Dad, one things for certain…nobody could fill those shoes like you do.
Love you from the top of your beautiful bald head to the tip of your stylish cool toes!