One of my best friends asked what my favorite memory was of my dad. I couldn’t think of just one. He gave me so many and so much more than memories—he significantly shaped who I am today. From my favorite sports team, to my pride, and to my love. He also gave me his patience, which is slim to none, and the ability to cry during every pre-dinner prayer.
There are those memories that stand out though, from small moments to large experiences.
I remember my dad, me and my brother in the barn, we must have just got done helping mom feed the horses, and he was giving us pointers on how to protect ourselves. I must have been seven or eight. Telling us to punch with our wrists straight and go for soft spots on people. There were the games of “HORSE and PIG” the three of us would play, because there was no concrete surrounding our lone basketball hoop on the side of shed to play a real game of basketball. Dad won most of those games, Erik some, and me probably none. The laughs and jokes we shared during these moments will last forever.
I remember the excitement of watching the Saints with him. There was more than football during these moments. These were experiences that bonded my dad and I. We would cheer and cuss together and share dad’s homemade guacamole dip. When the Saints kicked that field goal to go to the Super Bowl we called each other and cried together.
There were countless good times with my dad.
- The parties we would have when dad came back from a trip across the Atlantic—the grill, the music, the land, friends and family, all coming together to have a toast to dad and his crew for making it back safe.
- Driving the golf cart when I tagged along to go golfing with him and his buddies.
- Busting our buts down bust you but falls in North Carolina.
- Dad standing on the sideline during my horse shows.
- Driving dad to and from Ft. Desoto when he had pilotage jobs – I was so proud of him in those moments. He was sought out by the coast guard to get on another man’s ship and pilot them into the Tampa Bay…..He was the Captain among Captains.
- His stops in Tallahassee on his way from Tampa to Orange Beach or vice versa.
- The times when I asked him a history question and he responded with a full answer—he was a man of books, always striving to learn more.
He had an infectious smile and warm hug, a favorite among my friends. Even making an appearance in his whitie tighties once or twice on his way to make coffee in the morning when my girlfriends would spend the night. That was always a conversation piece.
I am so proud to call Captain Mark Anderson my dad. He lived an extraordinary life: a resilient child, world traveler, excelling to the top of his profession, and always being a father to the children he loved so much. He shaped me by not only his strengths but weaknesses. Love is not perfect because people are not perfect, but I know my dad’s love was deep, true and powerful, just as he was.