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For my Dad

Sunday, June 21, 2015
It's Father's Day, and there's no tie, belt, or gadget awesome enough that can show my gratitude for the man I call dad. I could spend this entire blog post explaining how smart he is and how interesting he is. And he is! I could tell you how proud I am of the things he's done for the state of Kansas, our family, and the community he lives in.

But since it's Father's Day, I think I'll reflect on what the day's really all about - why he's been such an amazing dad.

When my mom was expecting me, my dad told her he hoped they were having a girl. And here I am! Since the day I was born, I couldn't have asked for a more supportive dad who wholeheartedly and enthusiastically embraced his role as my dad. He has always been so interested in me and my pursuits, and been the biggest supporter. He always makes me feel like I’m his number one daughter. And lucky for him, I am.

When we would drive to Topeka during the time my dad served in the Kansas Legislature we’d often go through Manhattan and he’d point out the ‘KS’ letters along the river going through town. “It stands for Keith and Sasha,” he’d tell me as we drove by. And, for quite awhile, I thought it really did. It was also on those trips to Topeka and back we went through a stage where we’d stop at Hardees more than any human really should. My dad would say he wanted a hamburger or some of their chicken, but I know now that he knew I really wanted to help me collect all 10 treasure trolls they were giving away in their kids’ meals. That’s the kind of dad he is.

Maybe he was inspired by the ‘KS’ that he pointed out to me in Manhattan, but one summer he mowed our initials into an overgrown pasture, and then had the crop sprayer take photos of the giant K and S from the air. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. And, now I just know it was.

I loved spending time with my dad at the farm. I loved helping him out and going on spontaneous trips to Superior, Nebraska for potato wedges from Ideal Market. My dad even made a special place just for me at the farm. He knew how much I loved goldfish, and created a large goldfish pond out of the cattle trough at the farm. I can’t tell you how excited I was everything spring when we’d clean it out together and count all the pretty goldfish fish and see how big some fish had grown. We did a great job except for the year we left a bunch of goldfish in a bucket overnight. It was a raccoon’s dream buffet.

He supported me 100 percent at anything I did. He bought me my first softball glove, and drove me to countless (and I mean countless) piano, flute and dance lessons. When I went to summer camp, I always had letters waiting for me when I got there. I mean how cool is that? The first day of summer camp, and they already tell you that you have mail? My dad would prepare letters and make sure they got there ahead of time to help with any homesickness that might occur. I loved those letters, and have saved them all. They are all signed 'Love, DAD.' Dad in all capital letters.

My decision to go to KU was heavily influenced by hearing my dad’s accounts from Lawrence and his time spent at KU. I would always beg him to do the Rock Chalk chant at home. And after a few glasses of buttery Chardonnay, he would oblige. He said the chant would bring goosebumps and now I know that’s true.

The winter of my senior year of high school we decided to go to a KU basketball game just the two of us. That week it snowed and snowed and it snowed. Worst blizzard ever. School was called off the entire week. You better believe my dad warmed up the truck, checked the Interstate conditions, and he got me to Lawrence. We ate on Mass Street, and went to the game, and just had the best time ever.

The summer before I went to KU I was preparing to go through Greek recruitment. My parents were so supportive, yet completely unbiased. (My mother is a proud Alpha Chi – don’t get her started on the red carnation song.) When I headed off to recruitment I felt so prepared. My mom called each day, and had helped me prepare each outfit, but amazingly it was my dad who was completely into it. He knew my recruitment schedule by heart, and would send me emails throughout the day with certain facts about each house, or family friends who were Kappas, or Tri Delts, etc. He was like my KU Greek recruitment hub. He was my KU recruitment app before apps existed. He kept me informed and on track through the entire thing.

He researched all my classes at KU, attended so many KU games, and really, really made my KU experience so great, just because of his interest and support. When I lost a very special person in my life my freshman year at college, he dropped everything to drive to Lawrence to come get me since my mom couldn’t leave school. I mean the guy literally showed up in what he was wearing to feed cattle in his pickup at my dorm. I was so happy to see him.

My dad is also the best possible version of Google. When I go on trip I have texts by the time my plane lands of interesting factoids, places to eat, and historical information that I should know about my destination. As my husband would say (and he’s not joking around) “Don’t Google it, just text your dad.”

There’s so much more I could say about Keith Roe. But one other important thing I learned from him was to keep it short and sweet. So, I’ll wrap it up here. Happy Father’s Day, Daddio. Thank you for everything.

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