My dad loved running, and would frequently get up really early to go on long runs. I would often wake up and go into the kitchen to find my dad kind of sweaty in his running clothes making breakfast. My dad loved to cook, but could never quite leave a recipe alone. He was always experimenting with recipes and adding some special Ingredient to keep things interesting. I was not always happy to find my dad putting strawberry yogurt in an otherwise perfectly good pancake recipe, but he was always trying to make it better, and I think in many ways that's symbolic of how he lived his life. He would start with normal experiences and add something extra. He was always trying to improve everything one way or another.
Dad had a great sense of humor. He loved telling us how when he was a kid, my grandpa installed intercoms in their house, because there were thirteen kids and it was just easier than trying to track them all down. My dad shared a room with his brother Roland, and the intercom was installed on dad's half of the room, so he told Roland that he was the only one who got to use it. Roland wasn't too happy about that, and since the door was on his side of the room, he said "ok, well if I can't use the intercom, you can't use the door". I don't know how long this went on, but at least for a while dad would climb in and out of the window of his bedroom to keep his exclusive intercom rights.
One time on his mission, he went on exchanges to another area while his companion stayed in theirs. When he came back, his companion told him "We found this really great family and they're all interested! And we have an appointment for tomorrow! But it's really weird because this guy has like 10 daughters all the same age!" When they went to the appointment, there WAS an older guy with a lot of teenage girls in the house, but it wasn't a family. His companion, being new to the area, had unwittingly tracted into the local brothel. But they had an appointment, so my dad decided if they were going to teach them, they might as well teach what they needed to hear, and sat and taught the law of chastity to all of them. Needless to say, they didn’t get invited back. But he thought it was pretty funny. Being a small town, the branch president had a few questions for them later.
Dad was always really funny, but especially loved puns. I think this was mostly because he loved hearing us all groan every time. I think his “Hairy Potty” costume where he took a toilet seat and glued some hair to it, then hung it around his neck may be the worst example. My mom was not a fan of that costume.
Dad always spent a lot of time with us. I have a lot of good memories of him reading to us at the end of the hall while we all sat in our beds. He would frequently keep reading even when he probably needed sleep really bad. He read us all of the Newberry books, even the boring ones. One time he was reading a funny book to us and just started laughing so hard we had to go check and make sure he was ok.
Dad once bought something called a max - a six wheeled ATV that drove about 5 miles per hour and could drive on land or in the water. I don't know if all of them were like this, but this one had a bad habit of breaking down every single time we took it anywhere. It was still fun to drive around, though, and we would take it out optimistically thinking that maybe THIS time it wouldn't break. But it usually did. I remember several times sitting in my dad's expensive toy that I'd just broken yet again, waiting for him to come get angry at me for driving it directly into 5 feet of mud - but he never complained about it. He would invariably come to the rescue with a smile on his face. I think that was part of the fun to him.
Dad made people feel special. While working for my dad, I was very impressed at the way he loved talking to all of his patients. As a teenager, I would sometimes get a little frustrated at how much time he would spend just chatting with people when we were clearly getting behind schedule, but he truly cared about everyone who came in, and they always knew it. I've always really admired that about my dad. He had a great sense of humor, and loved to joke around, but he always made it a priority to make sure people knew that he cared. Whether it was his patients, people from church, friends from his childhood, family, or anyone else, that was the basis for all of his relationships: that he cared about you. He loved to (and was very good at) adding something extra, be it humor, or adventure, or whatever, but we always knew he cared - That was the most important thing. Even when he had a hard time telling us anything else, he put in extra effort to say I love you. We never had to wonder and I hope he never had to wonder about us - I love you dad!