When Fuquay-Varina resident Jeff Hartzheim entered into the Great American Cookie’s “Great American Dad” contest in early May, he never realized he would win. Hartzheim, 52, wrote a brief essay about what made his 77-year-old father wonderful. Cookie officials loved Hartzheim’s work and awarded Hartzheim and his father the top prize, a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Hartzheim said he decided to enter the contest in hopes of winning the trip.
“Everybody likes the thought of getting something for nothing,” Hartzheim said. “I figured that I’d give it a try and apparently the judges appreciated my ability to put thoughts into words that define my Dad as influential to me.”
Hartzheim said he is thrilled that he won the contest.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to take this trip with my Dad. We’ll enjoy the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and possibly do some other sightseeing in the area.”
Hartzheim said he cannot thank the sponsors of the contest enough for selecting his essay to be the top in the nation.
“I just wish to thank the sponsors and promoters of this contest as well as the judges who selected my offering from all the entries submitted nationwide. It’s an honor to be considered the son of a Great American Dad.”
He said while he is excited about possibly going to the Baseball Hall of Fame, they are still trying to figure out a few details before going. His father, who lives in New Orleans, does not travel well by himself. Hartzheim said they are trying to figure out how to get his father to North Carolina so that he does not have to travel to New York alone.
“I’m a bit subdued about celebrating any part of the trip just yet until travel plans can be arranged. It’s my understanding that the prize may have to be forfeited if either one of us is unable to fly to Cooperstown. I’m still trying to find a suitable solution so that he doesn’t have to navigate unfamiliar airports by himself. That’s another common bond between us. I’m still trying to figure out the whole Beltline system here in Raleigh.”
Hartzheim said his father is truly a special man who has taught him many things.
“I think that I can attribute my sense of humor as something that he passed down to me,” Hartzheim said. “He always found a way to make the most boring thing seem funny. Although, he always knew when to tone it down a bit. Myself on the other hand, I was born without the filter of good taste.”
Jeff’s winning entry:
I can boast of having a Great American Dad. Like a game winning, bases loaded grand slam high into the cheap seats, Dad has scored so many fantastic family memories that typical scoreboards could not keep up. My recollections throughout life are of bonding moments dealing with school, sports, cars and sympathetic ear when it comes to the confusion of understanding females. The first three he seemed to have all the answers for. The latter is still a work in progress for both of us. But he and my Mom had fifty wonderful years together before her recent passing. Although he now lives alone and far from me, we still enjoy the frequent Father/Son bonding phone calls and occasional opportunities for visits. His short term memory loss is an issue of concern for all. But his ability to recall moments of years gone by is always a refreshing peek into the past and I love to spend as much time with him as possible so as to cause smile inducing memories to run the bases of my own aging mind. If there ever was an MVP card designed for an American Dad! His would be a collector’s item.