1. Mets 3, Astros 0
2. When I was twelve, I wanted a place to store all my stuff so he built me a full-wall shelving unit.
3. His help every time I moved.
4. And every time I locked myself out of my car or my home.
5. He made me join an extracurricular activity in 10th grade and suggested the debate team. I can point back to the debate team for a lot of the great things in my life.
6. Teaching me in the absolute quickest way how to ride a bicycle.
7. Saving my life when the garage door attacked me.
8. Being with me in the whirlpool at the hospital while I screamed my bloody head off.
9. Being my den leader as long as he could take it, and allowing me to quit Cub Scouts.
10. Allowing me to quit Babe Ruth because of an awful coach but making me call the coach myself to do so.
12. He never allowed me to win at ping-pong or much of anything unless I earned it. It forced me to get better and make the victories all more enjoyable.
13. Giving us a chance to go to Disney World and allowing us to go fishing instead.
14. Spending many a weekend morning playing Police Quest 3 with me.
15. Teaching me how to play cribbage.
16. Paying me $500 to not watch television for a year.
17. I once gambled with money I didn’t have. It was only about ten or fifteen dollars, but he paid off my debt and made me work it off quickly. It was all part of a lesson to not spend money I don’t have, and to this day I have never once had an interest payment on a credit card.
18. Helping me get through college.
19. When I finally gathered the nerve to break up with an abusive girlfriend, he didn’t say “I told you so,” and solaced me even though I’m sure on the inside he was doing jumping jacks.
20. Coaching my house basketball team to an overtime playoff victory over a bunch of ringers despite not knowing anything about basketball except how many fouls our star player really had.
21. He never pushed me into any career.
22. Giving me many chances to be with his mother in the last years of her life.
23. Being fucking hilarious.
24. He tells amazing stories, even though they get more grandiose with each telling.
25. He spent a long time finishing the basement, telling us that he didn’t know exactly what he was going to turn it into. One day, he had us get haircuts, and we may have gone to play some miniature golf as well. When we got back home, a pool table was waiting for us.
26. He would “take us out to dinner” in Minneapolis only to find out we were going to a Twins game.
27. Sunday morning bowling.
28. He kept me calm during my first charlie horse, which is scary as hell if you’ve never had one.
29. Finding out where every hidden door was in The Legend of Zelda, one blue candle at a time.
30. Having a grown-up conversation with me about the divorce.
31. He made all my friends feel welcome in my home, made them laugh, took them out to dinner, took them bowling, etc.
32. Scolding me when I bragged to all my friends how rich he was (he wasn’t, and isn’t), teaching me a bit about humility and politeness.
33. Being honest about all the times he fucked up as an adult in order to help me make some well-informed decisions.
34. Getting us out of the house during the fire
35. Allowing me to keep my one-thousand dollars on a silly teenage bet he knew I’d never win.
36. Playing doubles tennis with us on a regular basis, and allowing us to chase him all over the court with corner shots.
37. Always being there when I needed someone to talk to.
38. Placing time limits on video games so we’d go outside.
39. Putting a basketball hoop on the garage and being okay with us constantly denting the garage (and his truck).
40. Hiring me for a summer for work he really didn’t need to hire anyone for.
41. Flirting with waitresses when I was a kid so I’d get extra whipped cream in my vanilla malts.
42. Forgiving me for forging his signature (to avoid detention) after finding out twenty years later.
43. And while we’re at it, forgiving me for selling the lawn mower he supposedly loaned me rather than gave to me.
44. Getting along with my step-dad.
45. Taking me on one of the most memorable nights from my childhood, being part of a group of six that caught over 120 ten-inch bluegill in just a couple hours. And then letting me eat them.
46. Lots o’ golf.
47. Being openly affectionate with Mom while I was growing up.
48. Raising me with a sense of right and wrong that is mostly about respect for all people. I can remember more than once I showed disrespect to another kid, and even when he agreed they were jackasses, still made me apologize and encouraged me not to stoop to their level.
49. For not only not giving up after his heart attack, but working his ass off for himself and his family.
50. And finally, for being an awesome grandfather, during bath time and otherwise.