Dear Dad,

Tom Dahl, you don’t know me.  You knew I was coming right before you died.  But, you never got to meet your youngest son.  I wanted to say “thank you,” and “I hope to see you” when time comes to it’s close.  First off, thanks for marrying my mom.  Thanks for being a loving father to my sister and brother.  Thanks giving my brother that love for rifles.  I had benefited from that as a kid.

I’ve heard the stories, one of your brothers told me.  He told me some of what you did, a little bit of what you were like.  I heard about your secret, you know, the one you kept from your mom.  I heard about the Bronc busting.  Did I spell that right?  It seems you were a bit of a risk taker.  Mom told me about your plan for a pig farm, about the large amount of land you were planning to buy right before you died.  I heard about your father, and the struggle with alcohol.  I heard how you reacted to that, along with pulling all those airmen out of bars during your tenure as military police in the Air Force.

Thanks for being that kind of dad.  The kind of dad that passed on risk taking to his sons and daughters.  Thanks for the entrepreneurial spirit, that has been passed on too. Granted, it has almost been educated out of me.  I can only believe that you would even be proud of that…my education level that is.  I pray that God will open up that spirit of risk taking, that entrepreneurial spirit that is part of your legacy.  Thank you.

Tom Lynch, thanks for being my dad of choice.  Thanks for choosing my mom, while you were a little later in your years, you took on a little 6 year old at the same time.  I know that you never quite felt like my dad…that is understandable.  But in the end, I think you knew how much I loved you, and looked to you as my father.  Thanks for being that hard nosed, stubborn S.O.B. that everyone knew as Tom Lynch, Sr.  You’ve definitely passed that on to me.  Thanks for instilling into me a love for my mom.  I’m sure that you punished me quite a few times, I was just that kind of kid.  But, the one I remember was when I was rude to mom.  Thanks for drawing the line in the sand, and making me have consequences for that.  We just don’t talk that way to our women, not the men in our family.

Thanks for that time in the boat, you remember.  It was right after the letter.  I so appreciate how you opened up that day, in that fishing trip that was conspicuously absent of fish.  I never knew of that pain, but it helps me to understand.  Our pain has a lot to do with our formation, doesn’t it?    Thanks for the stories of your dad, that also helps me to understand.

At times I hear your voice in mine.  You left an indelible mark upon me, for which I am grateful.  I hope you have the chance to meet Tom Dahl, Sr.  Perhaps you can compare notes, and fill him in on about 30 years of history.

I miss you both.  I miss the one I never knew, but bear his image.  I miss the one I knew, yet is gone for over a year and a half.  Help me to blend the best of both…my son deserves no less.