Superman has nothing on dad

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

He survived polio, joined the Army, got married, had two kids and worked, worked, worked.

Long before complete basketball goals, backboards and water-filled support bases lined the driveways of suburbia we had a rusty basketball goal hanging from our garage. My father used to flip trick shots over his bread truck and make them, while I looked on in awe.

Long before multiple televisions in every household, he came up with the idea for a family TV schedule. I had a night. My mother had a night. He had a night, as did my sister. Monday night was a group decision. It lasted about two weeks, because instead of watching Knight Rider on Fridays (my night), he coerced me into changing the channel to boxing.

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Long before I realized math just wasn't for me and right after a particularly bad grade in the subject, he sat me down at the table, scribbled and erased furiously with a pencil, and did his best to impart on me his wisdom of fractions, long division, and multiplication. They way he learned it. Which was never the way the teacher had taught it to me.

I never got it. But he tried.

Long before breakfast was a quick drive-thru meal, my father passed out the Pop Tarts and Captain Crunch as he had been instructed to by my mother - who was in the hospital at the time - and plopped a glass of chalky chocolate milk down in front of me. She evidently had not instructed him on the proper amount of stirring favorable to good chocolate milk. One swipe around the inside of the glass was all it needed, he thought.

Each day, my father stepped into a blistering hot bread truck at three in the morning and didn't come home until well after dark. In the winter the calluses on his hands cracked raw in the cold from pulling trays of bread to stock empty grocery store shelves.

It was his job. Because he had a house to pay for, along with gas, water, electricity and insurance. But more importantly, he had a family with needs.

In a world where wealth is often times associated with how much money is in the bank account, the extravagance of a new automobile or the elegance of a new home, my father gave me wealth of a different kind - wisdom and life instruction.

My father taught me that fathers never quit. You get up. Do your job. Come home. The next day, you do the same exact thing because there are people counting on you for survival. People you care about. People you love.

He was born in 1938. Coincidentally, Superman sprang to life that same year in a four-color comic book called Action Comics.

Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Race locomotives?

That's a fictional nothing.

Real heroes are people like my father.

I'm sure you've known your share as well.

Kevin Pearcey is editor of The Luverne Journal. He can be reached at

335-3541 or

via email at kevin.pearcey@