His Like Shall Not Walk This Way Again

My father is gone.

He was mythic. He was larger than life. To say he died before his time would be true, but a more accurate way of putting it would be to say that no time would have been enough, no world enough to contain him. I could make these entries entirely about the stories and legends of his life and I would never run out.

He did more, felt more, knew more. He simply was more than other humans; I’m not sure he was ever the same species as the rest of us. He was this great hub of all the best things in life – knowledge, laughter, music, and creation flowed both to and from him in volumes an order of magnitude more than what most people experience.

His personal library of music had over 100,000 songs. He could play any instrument. He could fix any machine, operate any vehicle. He would go to rummage sales at libraries and buy a box of a hundred books for a few dollars, and by the next month’s sale, he’d have read them all. He had visited every state, had lived in a dozen or more. He had lived for months simply on the road. He didn’t just adventure; he was adventure.

He was smart, and he was noble, and he valued honor and compassion. Friends asked him to be the best man at their wedding or the godfather of their children more than a dozen times each. People valued his wisdom and his counsel. You definitely wanted him on your side, no matter what you were facing. And he would gladly face it with you.

I could not have asked for more in a father. He taught me so much, cared about me so much. He took pride in me, guided me, shielded me when it was necessary and shoved me into danger and adventure all the rest of the time. He cared deeply about everything I did, showed me love and affection, and treated me as an equal – though not in ten lifetimes of trying could I become one to him. If I accomplish enough to measure his shadow I will be a great man. And if I do, it will be because of the wonderful father I had. There are a great many advantages that one can be born with, but none could compare to having him as my dad.

They don’t make ’em like Bill Roccia anymore. To be honest, I don’t think they ever did. He was a fluke, a miracle, a once-per-universe sort of deal. We shall not meet his kind again in this world, but when you reach the next, he’ll be easy to find. Just look for the life of the party.

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