Well, Flag Day is fast approaching and to most people Flag Day is a time to celebrate our country, but to me there is an added bonus.
Flag Day is extra special to me because it is also Steven Cope’s birthday. Steven Cope is a hero, a role model, a friend and most importantly, my father.
My dad is very special to me. I’ve talked about him in past columns, but now I want to take a chance to really tell about him and share a few of my favorite memories of him.
I am very blessed with the parents I have. They have always been supportive of me in all of my endeavors and have always been there for me. No matter what, they have, and always will be, there for me. They have said those very words to me numerous times.
I think I received one of my favorite compliments this weekend. A very dear friend of mine looked right at me while we were out to lunch and said; “You are just like your dad.” I grinned back and laughed, but inside I felt a sense of pride.
My dad has had some amazing jobs in his day. He worked for construction companies for a very long time. One of the companies he worked for allowed my family to travel a lot when I was young. I got to see a lot of neat places and see some amazing buildings. There are two projects that he worked on that are my favorites. One being the first construction phase in the remodel of Union Station in Kansas City into what is today Science City.
I remember the Union Station project with great fondness. As my father led me around the empty, dusty train station I looked around with wonder at the beautiful structure and thought of the history in that building. As dad continued showing me around and telling me the history and showing me unique little pieces of the building all I could do was stare at him in complete and utter fascination and think, “my dad is so cool.” He showed me grooves worn into the floors from the benches being moved back and forth. Benches that held thousands of people throughout the years. He showed me the great architecture and the beautiful marble throughout the building. I even remember the day we were wandering around the building and we found an old superman comic laying on the floor. It was folded up just like it had been when it was riding around in the back of some young boys pocket, more than likely waiting on a train with his parents. Because of my dad I was able to experience my own little piece of history in that building.
The other project that I think fondly of was an amazing fountain in Kansas City. I cannot tell you which building it is in front of currently. I was quite young when it was built, but the memory I have of it is one I hold onto dearly. I remember my dad taking my mother, brother and I, and possibly my sister, I don’t recall if she had been born yet or not. I’m going to say not. He took us to the fountain and it consisted of a giant marble ball sitting on top of another piece of marble with water jets underneath. He picked me up and put me next to the marble ball and helped my brother up. Then he told us to push the ball. The most amazing thing happened. With no effort at all we started moving the ball around. This giant marble ball was moving the direction I pushed. I am sure the look on my face was priceless, but the memory of that night can never be replaced.
My father is someone who I have always looked up to. Even in times of hardship he has been a rock to me. He has always helped me, supported me, and made sure I knew that I could do anything in the world. When I finally made my decision to pursue photography and journalism he was there. Buying me my first camera, helping me learn all I could about photography, buying me books, and even today he and my mother continue to purchase me parts for my cameras. Most of the time I have no idea they are doing it, but they just keep telling me they love to do it.
My dad is a special man and will forever be a hero to me. So happy birthday dad and happy Flag Day to everyone!
(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.)