Yesterday, December 5th, was the King’s birthday and Father’s Day in Thailand. As a result, we did not have school, the country dressed in yellow to honor the King’s 85th year on earth and we had an hour assembly the day before where the kids sang songs about the King, people talked in Thai and we tried not to sweat to death. A Thai teacher actually fainted. It’s so damn hot here. The kids also came to school early to line up and give offerings to 39 monks, which was pretty cool. They all came in with their baskets of different dried and packaged goods and the monks walked through this procession and accepted them all. We are talking bags and bags of food. They are apparently going to the less fortunate in Chonburi. A few of my boys were cute enough to give me some of their offerings to give as well. Very cool.
So, in honor of Father’s Day and the monks, and dried, packaged food, I would like to dedicate to this post to my father; the man, the myth, the legend, J. Craig Buksar aka Craction (Craig-in-action).
For many who know my dad, you can attest that he is one of a kind. Even for those who do not know him, I talk about him enough to paint a pretty good picture. I have countless stories of his sense of humor, his travels, the adventures he has taken my family on (good and bad, great and terrifying), countless concerts, shows and exhibits he has dragged us to, and the wandering spirit he has instilled in me. Whether he likes it or not.
J. Craig is always ready to go, at a moments notice, try anything, see anything, do whatever it takes (recent toe surgeries included). He is the epitome of a “yes” person. Except when he tells my brother and I “no”, which is actually quite often. So I take that back. But you get the point.
My dad has always taught me the importance of hard work, practice (sport specific) and perseverance. To be fearless, almost to the point of recklessness. To try new things and laugh at yourself, as well as others. To go against the grain and try foods and things most people have no desire to try. This is a man who orders the strangest thing on the menu, mostly because it is the strangest thing on the menu or sounds “interesting”. Who is always looking for a new restaurant to try, but only if they serve an exotic cuisine and he can try something he has never had before. That type of man. I know he will appreciate how I only bring up food examples.
Whether I like it or not, I am a lot like him. He has instilled this desire and passion for travel, for being a do-er, for trying new things, meeting new people, learning new cultures, seeing new places, eating peanut butter from the jar. I would not be where I am right now without him. Mostly because if we lived together any longer one of us was going to kill the other.
But seriously, my brother and I grew up hearing all of the tall tales of his globe trotting. India, Morocco, Nepal, Ecuador, Paterson, Ohio! Whether true or not, he showed us the world was an oyster to be eaten. The most interesting part is, I don’t think he even realized he was doing it. Everything he forced us to do, every crazy place he took us, every boring concert, cultural experience we sat through, molded my brother and I to want to live, learn and lap up everything around us, near and far. And although our travels have taken us to different places and may have been through a different approach or medium (we chose cush study abroad programs, eating three meals a day, sleeping in beds, not coming close to death, “English Teachers in Thailand are a dime a dozen!”- direct quote), we have grown so much and learned a tremendous amount from our experiences.
In a way, Craction has created two little travel monsters. That are dying for thrills because they were forced to go parasailing at the ripe ages of 7 and 10, whether we were scared or not. Desperate to explore museum and history, listen to lectures and take tours because we’ve been conditioned to pull 12 hour days in places like Gettysburg, PA. And hungry for new cultures, sounds, smells and foods, because that random Peruvian restaurant in town you make us go to just ain’t cutting it.
So thank you Dad, for helping me get where I am today. You are a man who always does what it takes (recent toe surgery included), reminds me constantly that attitude is everything, and whether you like it or not, have pushed me to wander the world. Happy Thai Father’s Day!