In a recent episode of Modern Family, Phil Dunphy tried to “create a moment” with his teenaged daughter, Alex. He despaired not being as legendary as astronaut Eugene Cernan, who claimed that he wrote his daughter’s initials on the surface of the moon (thus becoming the dad all dads hate). This Father’s Day, I wanted to highlight a wonderful man known as Mr. Steve, who has the distinction of being my father.

My dad tapped the maple tree on our backyard and made homemade maple syrup with me and my sister.

My dad was an honorary Girl Scout and a “Camp Dawg” who accompanied me and my sister’s troops on countless camp outs and field trips.

My dad can quote every single line from The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Every. Single. Line.

My dad volunteers as a ham radio operative for the Head of the Charles Regatta, the Walk for Hunger and the Boston Marathon. He helps people who can’t finish the races and radios response teams to pick them up when they’re too tired, hot or sick to finish.

My dad has never once felt the need to apologize for his eccentric personality, and by his example he taught me that I never need to apologize for my personality either.

My dad wore Funny Nose Glasses and Dread Pirate Roberts masks to make us laugh. He knew that even when we rolled our eyes, it was our special teenage way of saying “I love you.”

My dad took my sister and I to the Museum of Science to exercise our brains and to the Museum of Fine Arts to exercise our imaginations. He waxes poetic about both the Vermeers stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the mysteries of physics and biology.

My dad has helped rebuild slums in Brazil, Mississippi towns after Katrina, and Habitat for Humanity houses in New Jersey.

He shovels snow for our neighbors, sands the church driveway¬†and once threatened to put ice in my friend’s baptismal water.

My dad read out loud to me and my sister and filled our minds with stories of the Big Woods, Bag End, Rivendell and Indian Territory.


My dad has always supported his strange daughters, even though we’d rather be writers and readers than engineers like himself.

My dad enters an annual Fantasy Iditarod League, thus outstriping every other fantasy league ever created on the scale of awesomeness.

My dad raised me on a steady diet of Pink Floyd, Godspell and Don McLean. To repay him I introduced him to Mumford and Sons, Adele and Flogging Molly.

My dad drove across the country with both of his daughters. He took one to Idaho and the other to California. We traveled down Route 66 together, eating in themed diners and absorbing the rich history middle- and south-western America had to offer us.

I hate to say it, but… sorry¬†Eugene Cernan; you’ve got nothin’ on my dad.