My Father

Mr. Ball

In 1991 I was a high school senior. I was curious about Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. I lived in Boise, Idaho with my 6 siblings. I asked my dad if we could go “check it out”. He said if I made the arrangements, he’d take me. In a few days time I drew the route on a map and booked Motel 6 hotels, this was when 1-800 numbers were the way to get it done. I planned the trip and then to his everlasting credit he did it, we went.  

He said that getting an education was important to him. Of course he wanted me to get a great education, every kid knows that his dad wants that. But taking four days out of his schedule away from his other 6 kids and wife and work gave me a powerful message. That’s how you tell your kid that his education is important.  

We took the long way. I was fascinated with California so I planned the trip to go through Reno, Sacramento, San Fransisco and south along highway 1 to Santa Barbara.  

It’s a long, long drive. We drove his new 1990 white Dodge Daytona all the way to Morrow Bay the first day after 16 hours on the road. I drove a few hours and he’d drive a few hours. We stopped somewhere north of Morrow Bay to relieve my bladder along the roadside and I could hear thundering waves, crickets and running water. I couldn’t see anything in the dark. Driving on highway 1 at midnight on a moonless night was so thrilling.  

We had a fancy tour of the office and campuses at Brooks. I was spellbound by the darkroom, the students’ work on the walls and the impressive buildings. It seemed a trillion miles from my basement darkroom back in Idaho. Everything in Santa Barbara was exotic to my Idaho eyes and nose. I witnessed strange trees and plants, smells of the ocean, soft light filtering through ocean haze, fancy cars, road signs in spanish and highway 101. I was electrified.  

We went to LA for an evening. The reason we went there was to satisfy my curiosity. I booked a Motel 6 on Hollywood Boulevard. I didn’t sleep that night. There was too much noise and light outside our room. I thought I heard someone breaking into our car at 3 in the morning. I peeked through the curtains to see a fight in the parking lot. My curiosity was satisfied.  

I went to Brooks Institute four years later in 1995. My dad paid the sky-high tuition. I was grateful then. I am flabbergasted now. It was amazing.  

That experience with my dad only typifies an eternal list of kind and generous acts that he has conducted on my behalf.  He has always been there cheering for me. He’s always been there to support me. I know it’s a phenomenal blessing and I am thankful.  

My dad is a gentleman. He does his duty and loves my Mother. He gives all he can to his 8 children and 24 Grandchildren. He thinks of others first. What else can you ask of your father?  

He taught me that a gentleman is always concerned with the comfort and welfare of others. He taught me that family comes first. He taught me to learn and do your duty. He taught me to speak kindly to my wife and children. He taught me to help out at home by cleaning, sweeping and scrubbing. He taught me that the ultimate example is the Saviour Jesus Christ, the ultimate gentleman.  

I think of that often.  

On this father’s day, I wish to tell my father that I love him, I honor his legacy and his teachings. He’s not perfect, no one is, but he is sincerely trying to teach his family the teachings of Christ through his example. It’s a sacred responsibility to be a father and he takes his responsibility seriously. Thank you Dad.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree and couldn’t have said it better myself! You described our wonderful dad perfectly! Love you Pops! And thanks Jon for the post.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to a great man. I’m glad he had so many children, because in doing so, many many people are blessed by him & his righteousness.

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