It's going to be a bittersweet Labor Day weekend this year.
My dad is retiring today after 42 years as an independent insurance agent in the North Texas area.
His company ran an ad announcing his retirement in our hometown newspaper here, The Denton Record-Chronicle, and it was no surprise he's been flooded with calls these past few days from customers of his from the past 42 years, congratulating him on this important milestone.
It was 1965 when my dad started out in the insurance business as a representative for Allstate, before later hanging out his own shingle and selling for numerous other major insurance companies.
In 1965, LBJ was starting his first full term as president, while escalating American troops in Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.
Martin Luther King, Jr. marched from Selma to Montgomery that year. And the U.S. Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
We got our first images from Mars via Mariner 4 in 1965.
And also that year, IBM scientists completed the most precise computation of the Moon's orbit to date.
Bob Dylan went "electric" at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, and The Beatles played the first "stadium" rock show at Shea Stadium.
My dad wasn't much into the Beatles, at least not at the time.
He was too busy learning how to sell insurance and provide for his family.
But along the way, he would build what would become a longstanding reputation for being a trustworthy, honorable, forthright, and happy-go-lucky person.
Traits I'd like to think that I at least mostly inherited from him.
As a customer, you might not like the rate my dad quoted you for your insurance, but he always gave it to you straight.
My lifelong love for technology and computers began in my dad's office.
I used to climb up on a chair and fiddle with his new Wang office computer system, and while there was no Halo 3 action to be found, there was a really cool text-based Star Trek game that I never quite figured out, but still played fastidiously.
I just loved punching those keys on that keyboard. I stlll do.
It was probably also from my dad that I got my sometimes insane work ethic, for which I am very thankful.
It keeps me off the streets, and he and my mom away from worry.
In recent years, I was glad to see my dad spend a few more weekday afternoons at the golf course instead of in the office.
He'll be spending even more time on the golf course now that he's retiring, as well as on the open road traveling around the country with my mom in their RV.
But that's okay by me.
He earned those afternoons after so many years tied to that phone at his desk, helping one customer after another.
As your friendly, local independent insurance agent.
Hit 'em long and straight, dad.