Today is my dad’s birthday. His name is Geoff and he’s 65 years old. Oh, and he’s awesome. And there is a strong relationship between impactful fathering and success in work and life. Fathers are often a young man’s first role model and/or mentor – mine was (and he and my mom are still mentors, too). Dads who do their fair share of household chores tend to raise more ambitious women. And men who had a positive childhood relationship with their father live less stressful lives as adults. These are just a few examples of how fathers can build and sustain a healthy sense of community for their kids and I’ll focus this article on how my dad positively impacts my work and life.

I recently became a dad, so the life lessons imparted on me by my dad are fairly fresh in my mind. In his 65 years, Geoff Horn has honed and, some will argue, perfected a litany of skills and abilities that jive really well with his unique style and natural talents. For example, he has an incredible work ethic, he is a masterful storyteller, and how he loves my mom and his family represents the full potential of human goodness.

Since today marks his 65th year on Earth, I thought it fitting to share a list of (more or less) 65 things that I love about my dad.

  1. His badass mustache commands respect (and is probably attractive, too).
  2. One time, we reunited a lost goose with its gaggle.
  3. Without Geoff Horn as my dad I wouldn’t have been able to write that hilarious sentence above!
  4. My dad has a wonderful sense of adventure – sure, it gets people injured, lost and hungry sometimes, but we all emerge better from the experiences.
  5. He body surfs in big, big waves.
  6. There are a handful of bald men who are in possession of superior leadership skills than my dad: one of them was Gandhi and two of them are fictional characters played by Patrick Stewart.
  7. He makes fantastic animal noises, much to the delight of his three grandchildren!
  8. Geoff Horn has “a guy” or a “gal” for everything…
    • A kitchen guy
    • A car guy
    • A chainsaw guy
    • A roof guy
    • A tree-topping guy
    • A meat guy
    • A chicken gal
    • A fish guy
    • A prawn guy
    • A hair gal
    • A paint guy
    • A wine gal
    • A bulldozer guy
  9. One of the reasons that he has so many guys and gals in his network is because he was an awesome teacher who made a connective impact on his students.
  10. He has great friends.
  11. Whenever he and my mom visit they always bring lots and lots of food.
  12. That trip across Canada when I was a kid.
  13. Speaking of trips, one time he drove my sister from Ottawa to Vancouver Island in, like, four days and she drove for about 90 minutes.
  14. The “Full Merville” jacket (pictured above)
  15. Wool toque.
  16. Wool vest.
  17. Wool socks.
  18. “The thing about wool is that you can be soaking wet from the rain but you’ll never be cold.” – Geoff Horn
  19. He’s never cold.
  20. Like I said before, he is a man with an incredible engine and an unmatched work ethic.
  21. He and my mom built our house (fact: I will, apparently, be the last Horn man to not build his own house).
  22. One summer he and I built a deck.
  23. He and my grandpa built a barn.
  24. Basically, every summer he builds or rebuilds something cool, like a greenhouse, on his homestead.
  25. He has an unbelievable green thumb and the spectacular garden to prove it.
  26. His fashion sense is beholden to no one – just ask his fruit shorts.
  27. In fact, when I use the term “MEC-chique” you probably know what I mean; yeah, Geoff Horn was a pioneer of this movement.
  28. Watching sports with my dad is awesome because he knows a lot and he yells at the TV.
  29. He’s a great – and experimental – cook.
  30. My mom and dad have a trailer called The Fun Finder.
  31. During a recent conversation with a mentor I talked about how my dad doesn’t speak of women in a derogatory way. Ever. This has made an impact on how I want my son to grow up.
  32. He’s a great coach (I know because he coached me).
  33. He’s a great teacher (I know because I had him for Social Studies).
  34. He taught me how to fantastically and uncontrollably overwrite sentences.
  35. Like I said, he’s a wonderful storyteller.
  36. And he taught me how stories are great vehicles for sharing wisdom and knowledge.
  37. He’s very well-read.
  38. Especially when it comes to beach trash pulp fiction!
  39. I don’t think that he ever missed one of my sister or my soccer, volleyball, basketball games or dance recitals.
  40. He doesn’t stop until the task is complete or the Sun goes down … well, that’s not true; he’s carried out night missions before.
  41. Our freezer is full of my dad’s dehydrated fruit; and it’s delicious!
  42. Oh, and our freezer is also full of moose pâté, too.
  43. Speaking of which, my dad has a legitimate DIY-network of builders, gardeners, fishers, hunters, and gatherers who will probably survive long after the rest of the world looks like California does right now.
  44. He has great nicknames, such as…
    • Dadmeister
    • El Heffe
  45. To this day, most of my friends from high school still call my dad “Mr. Horn”.
  46. He’s a skilled letter-writer and his holiday emails have become legendary.
  47. My mom and dad are very generous with their homestead, as evidenced by them opening it up for Michelle and my wedding as well as a debaucherous weekend event that came to be known as “Mervillemania”.
  48. Never was my rare blood disorder to ultraviolet light ever accepted as an excuse for shying away from life – my dad has always balanced support and pushing very well.
  49. My mom’s parents loved my dad so much; he gets along really well with his in-laws.
  50. And he cares a great deal for his family, too, who can be difficult at times.
  51. Kids love him because he has a whimsical way about him.
  52. Approximately 98.2% of the camping/outdoor skills that I have today are because of my dad.
  53. Together, he and I have probably fell, bucked, cut, and split over 100 trees into many winters of wooden fuel for our home.
  54. Even though he stops too close to cars in front of him and changes lanes too often, he’s never got a ticket.
  55. A fierce advocate of environmental sustainability and social justice, he’s not a guy that community/political leaders want to cross. Because he’ll protest you!
  56. Always obeying the law, there are few men more honest than my dad.
  57. He is a legitimate country squire.
  58. Our early morning conversations on the deck (that we built) have been transformational in terms of my personal and professional development.
  59. He is opinionated, but always let’s you find your own path to a decision (and he’s there to catch you when you make the wrong one).
  60. When I graduated from Bishop’s University he and my mom wrote me one of the kindest and most inspirational letters that I’ve ever received; to this day, if I’m feeling down it provides me with an immediate boost in confidence.
  61. He’s really, really funny.
  62. Oh man, the guy can eat (and somehow stay trim!).
  63. I’m confident in saying that he walks over 5km per day (mostly because he hardly stops moving).
  64. He’s a hugger!
  65. A few years ago one of my mentors asked me about my values and how they were guiding me in my next career move. After a fairly long explanation he interrupted me and said, “wow, you have really great parents.” This is very true. In his 65 years on Earth my dad (50% of my awesome-parents-combo) has cultivated values that guide pretty much every decision that he makes; and I’m proud to say that they’re contagious and they’ve made a positive impact on how I work and how I live.

Happy 65th birthday, Dad! You’re an awesome human being!

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