Me? I kind of liked the dad with the gun, but after national attention given recently to North Carolina fathers, Johnston Countys Bryan Martin is probably just what we need to polish our image around here.
Martin is now a national sensation and a poster boy for children after giving his daughter one of the most thoughtful graduation gifts ever.
Thats good, because two other Tar Heel dads whove been much in the news in recent months are poster boys for, if anything, misbehaving politicians and the NRA.
We have one former senator whose actions as a husband, father and presidential candidate will make no one forget Heathcliff Huxtable or Ward Cleaver. Or even Al Bundy.
Unlike many of you, though, I dont think John Edwards is the worst dude ever. Nor is he irredeemable: Indeed, Im taking bets that hell eventually make a greater contribution to society than a lot of the moral dandies who attack him so vociferously and anonymously online.
The other North Carolina dad who enjoyed 15 minutes of fame of lead-slinging, Internet-fueled fame is Tommy Jordan of Albemarle, who is a folk hero to some. Or is it just to me?
Remember back in February, after Jordan found a Facebook rant by his 15-year-old daughter, complaining that her parents expected her to clean her own room and possibly egads! get a job?
Unlike Heathcliff or Ward, whod have sat the little lady down and had a nice, thoughtful chat with her after which shed have been reformed Jordan took his ol .45-caliber and blasted the computer. Eight times. Kablooey!
That act sparked debate on whether Jordan as a dad was good, bad or certifiable.
One dads best grad gift ever
Most dads who arent on television are, at times, all three. But no such debate was forthcoming about Bryan Martin as a dad.
After his daughter, Brenna Martin, graduated from North Johnston High School in June, he presented her with a one-of-a-kind book, a book more valuable to her than the Gutenberg Bible.
It was a thin book by Dr. Seuss called Oh, The Places Youll Go and no, it wasnt a signed first-edition copy.
What separates the book from any other too-cute-by-half gift is what was written on each page: Each page was signed by and featured a personal note from a teacher, coach or principal of Brennas going back to kindergarten.
No, pops didnt go back years later and hunt for old teachers and gather memories of his daughter clouded by age and time. He got each comment in real time, every year, right after his daughter was promoted to the next class.
How many of you remember a graduation gift you received decades ago?
Tube socks and a special $5
I remember two: Miss Maxine, our lifelong next-door neighbor in Rockingham, gave me a six-pack of tube socks and Miss Neal, who lived around the corner, called me over to her front porch as I walked by on the day I left home for college and pressed a crumpled five-dollar bill in my hand.
Even then and since then, Ive received gifts worth way more than those, but never one that meant more because I know they were given with love.
In her life, Brenna Martin will likely receive gifts that cost a lot more than that Dr. Seuss book but Im betting she will never receive a gift that means more to her.
Shell be telling her dad thanks for the rest of the year, no doubt. So will other North Carolina dads.