You know, my dad, after he read "Big Russ and Me," said, "You made a mistake." I said, "Dad, I didn't make a mistake. I vetted the book so carefully and I really tried to be precise and be accurate." He said, "Yeah, you say I always call you and say you've got to eat." I said, "You do. You call me on my birthday at 7:00 A.M. and say, 'You've got to eat. You've got to eat. What are you having for supper?'" I said, "Dad, I haven't had breakfast yet."
He said, "Well, that's half the expression. The full expression is, 'You've got to eat if you're going to drink.'" So I said, "Dad--come on, I'm not going to college anymore," and he laughed like crazy.
But he took the book to heart. It came out in May of '04, and in November of '04 I went home for Thanksgiving. We were loading our car to go back to the airport. And my dad came up to me.
And normally, he was not someone who said a lot. I knew he loved me because I saw it by his hard work and by his actions, but he never used those words until Thanksgiving of '04 after the book had come out.
We usually say, "Good-bye" by a half of a handshake and half of a hug. And suddenly he engulfed me in a bear hug and grabbed me and pulled me close and said, "I love you." And that was a big deal. I wish I'd written the book 30 years ago.
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