I just got back from visiting my maternal grandfather at the LA Veterans Cemetery. Even though he passed away February 22, 2004, me and my family visit him (and now my grandmother, as of October 19, 2009) five times a year. We stay maybe five minutes despite the hour drive to and from LA to each pay our respects to him. We don't bring flowers, we don't dress up. We're just there.
He showed me what being a true dad was. Any man can be a father, but Papa was a dad. Granted, I have no idea what it was like growing up with him as a father, but I know what it was like having him as a grandfather. And he is the epitome of what I think a dad should be: he was always there for me, he humored me whenever I had one of my great - though naive - ideas, he teased me, he gave me advice, and I knew without a doubt I could count on him no matter what.
My own father is a great father. But he has his own family he needs to worry about. And while I love him, he's never really been a dad.
Which is probably why I miss Papa so much.
Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers, Dads, and Grandfathers out there. Whether you're here or somewhere in the sky, watching over everyone. :)