My Perfect Father, a Short Story

Close up of Dad with cigar in mouth as always (Late 1970s)
Close up of Dad with cigar in mouth as always (Late 1970s) | Source

What I Want My Perfect Father to Know

He always remained the most important man in my life, and my disdain for his actions over the years has turned to the calm understanding for a man who had no idea what it meant to be a father until he reached his senior years.

The conversations are smooth and humor always lurks beneath every meaning, it's just how we have always been together. When I look at him these days, my heart sings and my smile widens, yet the questions form more-so now then ever before. I feel myself looking deeper into his eyes searching for the things I must know before he goes; the things only he has the answers to. But, more than knowing what he has to share, he must know this one very important thing I have to share with him; he turned out to be the perfect father for me, despite our rough beginnings.

My Scottish Dad in front of American flag (2007)--trust me that cigar is in his hand!
My Scottish Dad in front of American flag (2007)--trust me that cigar is in his hand! | Source

The Scotsman My Father Be

A Scottish Balmoral constantly perched upon his head and a dark stick-like yet quite pricey cigar, ever bouncing at the corner of his mouth, my father is a sight to behold. The part of his face that I can see, that which is not covered by his well manicured bristly black— and more grey these days— beard, shows deep-set lines as if their purpose is to navigate and manage the telling of his life story. To me, he is an anomaly of strength, kindness, visceral anger, and love. Which of these anomalies he will display can only be discovered once each moment begins. However, I never find the risk greater than the reward when it comes to talking with my Father, which I lovingly call Da' these days.

My Fit, Brilliant and Talented Father

My Da' has always been a very fit man, sporting large muscular arms and a torso so tight and defined that his favorite game when we were young was to have us punch his gut as hard as we could, something like that of the great Houdini. Skilled in the mantle of Martial Arts, as well as the art of oil painting, his true desires for artistic expression escaped his reach at a young mans age. He married my very Jewish Mother and then joined the family construction business my grandfather had began decades prior. His muscles may have shown clearly back then, yet less like that of a burly carpenter, my fathers height remained 5' 9" among the large Norwegian and Irish 6 footers he hired to his construction sites. With a new bride and family on the way, making a viable living was paramount. Thus, his quest for artistic passions played second fiddle to his newly acquired responsibilities. This fact is easily read in his eyes, as it haunts him to this day.

My dad and Granfather in the late 1960s
My dad and Granfather in the late 1960s | Source

His intelligence is truly beyond measure, an IQ so high his emotions struggled to contain all that stirs within his brilliant mind. The one tool he uses from his artistic performers soul is his most beautiful tenor singing voice only matched by those three renowned male Opera stars. I remain amazed each time I catch him beautifully belting-out an Italian melody while conducting some mundane chore around his home. At 77 years of age he harbours the pipes of a 30 year old without a doubt. I don't believe anyone but me truly knows he desired to be a performer/artist; acting, singing, dancing and above all substrate style art (painting, drawing, carving and the likes). I always felt privileged to know this about my Da' it has been a strong connection throughout our lives.

My Dad on the rigging of his sailboat in the 1970s. He loved that captain's hat almost as much as his Scottish Balmoral.
My Dad on the rigging of his sailboat in the 1970s. He loved that captain's hat almost as much as his Scottish Balmoral. | Source

My Not-So Perfect, Perfect Father

There have been many times in my life where my father was absent, unavailable, or just out of reach when I needed him. His interests went to the water and living on his huge antique sailboat for a year or two, it seemed nothing took precedence over his wooden hulled lady of the sea. Yet, today those times seem very dim in memory, even unimportant. As when I absolutely needed him most he was always there.

You see, a critical time came where I watched my heartbroken friends struggle with their stories and admissions of alternate lifestyles. Violence and homelessness were the more usual outcome for those who shared their truth with family. I must admit, I had visions of similar results creeping around in my mind before I began to tell my own truth.

But when it came my turn, I found it an easy transition to tell my Da' about my truth. When I look back on the way my father responded to my coming out as a lesbian early in my life, I think possibly he did know how to be a father more than I gave him credit for all those years ago. When I tried, at 18, to tell him I was gay, he finished that difficult sentence for me. With a clear statement that he had always known, and long before I had realized it myself. It never seemed all that important to him, and he has always been my greatest supporter, never judging or reprimanding my truth, simply offering up the loving advice and guidance of a father. I believe, for me anyway, few things in life have more value than that moment.

Much later in 2008, as my spouse of 14 years, Debbie, was dying from the ravishes of ovarian cancer, my father was the quiet strength I could hear, and the voice of reason I needed when I was at my most unreasonable. My father offered me his unconditional love. He loved her because I loved her. That is a gift only a perfect father can offer, and one I keep perched at the deepest depths of my heart.

My Perfect Father Moment

When I ponder memories of my childhood and youth, I can see how the anger and pitiful things can degrade the relationship between my father and I. I have forever cast these unimportant hurtful memories aside. At 51, I can say I am a daddy's girl with much pride as well as joy. The miss-steps and absence all fall away in a haze of unnecessary resentment.

The things I learned from my father may have come later in life, but they are the more important things, viable and tangible arriving in their proper placement in time. My independence and courage stem directly from the lessons my father taught me without even being there. My formidable personality and sense of humor each derived from trial and error and then successful methods of communication with him. My kind unconditional love of people and all living things comes directly from the manner in which he handled the most critical moment in my life. Without a flinch, a scowl, or a gesture of judgement, my father accepted me as the Lesbian Woman I am. I know without a doubt that I am loved through it all, and unconditionally so. Therefore, I say for me, this man I call Da'...he is and always has been My Perfect Father.

K9keystrokes © 2011

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Comments for "My Dad Became My Perfect Father, a Short Story" 31 comments

Lee Cloak 20 months ago

Fantastic story, a wonderful read, thanks, Lee


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

What an awesome hub. I am so pleased you and your father grew to appreciate each other. Voted up +.


HEARTS-and-BONES profile image

HEARTS-and-BONES 3 years ago from Greenfield, MA

Thank you for this hub about your father. It brought tears to my eyes...because it was so personal and because it so beautifully conveyed what a dear man he was. Strong, and dear, and steady.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

This is a beautiful story about the love shared between a father and a son. Thank you for sharing your memories.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 5 years ago from New England

Thank you for sharing this lovely hub about your father. It seems that both the Scottish and Irish call their father's "da." More importantly, your tribute to him is very touching, and I feel I know you both better from reading it.


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K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

cardelean~ I agree with you 100%. Parents have such a difficult undertaking when it comes to raising their children. They have to understand the concepts of sociology as well as the principles of human development. I think my Da' had the perfect mix of the two when I look back on things today. The anger my younger self felt stems from the lack of understanding for the lessons my father had to teach.

I am honored you made it by today, big smile for me!

Big HubHugs~

K9


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K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

wingedcentaur~ I am so very flattered that you offer such high praise for the hub. It is an inspiring moment to read such comments. I can't thank you enough.

Cheers~

K9


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K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Ercolano~ Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on my Da's story. It always feels so wonderful to know a reader finds a connection within a personal story; you gift this to me here. Honored to say the east. I appreciate that you shared your thoughts with us here.

HubHugs~

K9


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

@ Super single Mom~ Thank you for the kind words.

Cheers~

K9

@Vinaya Ghimire~ You are awesome! Love is after all the only thing truly worth sharing.

Cheers~

K9


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

It is so wonderful that you have come to appreciate all that your father has to offer, in spite of any "faults" that you may have seen at a younger age. I truly believe that parents do the best they can with what they know how to do. Thank you for sharing your story.


wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 5 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

Hi, K9keystrokes! I voted this 'up' for both 'awesome' and 'beautiful,' of course. An excellent portrait of an excellent man. I love the contrast the best, this picture of a "real man's man," as it were contrasted with the non-judgmental, tender and supportive way he accepted your truth (where with other sets of people the results were, as you say, violence and homelessness), even saying that he'd long ago figured it out prior to your confession.

I feel privileged to have met your father, even in this highly indirect way.

Well done!


Ercolano profile image

Ercolano 5 years ago from Vancouver, BC

I really enjoyed your sub, and feel that I know who your father was. I related many of his traits to my own father and both our experiences. I appreciated the segmented portrayals of your Da', and I especially love that you came to understand and learned a great deal about who he was and what he taught you in his own way: obviously a great deal; pride and honour and of course unconditional love. A very nicely structured piece and written from the heart incredibly well. Great job.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

I admire your humility and boldness. Thanks for sharing your love.


Super Single Mom 5 years ago

I loved this.. such a great story.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Denise~ :)


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

K9-thanks for linking mine as well--I must have been more tired than I thought last night-didn't catch it when I read through the hub. Many blessings.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Denise~ Thank you for your kind words and expressions of concern. You are truly a special person. I am honored that you will be linking in, as I am honored to share the HubLove...your Fathers Hub is referenced above.

It is never easy to measure the loss of a loved one, so time plays no roll; I grieve for your loss as well...

Extra Big HubHugs~

K9


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

What a beautiful hub, K9, and if you will allow me to, I'd like to link this one to my father story: The sacrifice of fathers. It sure seems he was one of the good guys as well. :) Voted up.

As an aside, I'm so sorry about the loss of your spouse. I write about my loss each anniversary that it rolls around and here your loss is much more fresh than mine. Hugs to you.


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

I liked the tribute to your father. Being a father myself, I only hope through all my faults that I am considered a perfect father, for my two sons.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Gordon! You have made my day by visiting! I have missed your kind words my friend. Much has been in the works for me, including (and I know you get this) some computer mishaps. But it would seem things are functioning properly as of this week.

I am thrilled that you too found a cozy place within your father/son relationship; I think these can be the most difficult. I am so proud to be of Scottish breeding, and Jewish on Mother's side of things. My Da' is the main man in my life and I am so lucky to have him as my own!

Lovely to see you today, and thank you for sharing your thoughts, I always enjoy your visits so very much.

The Biggest HubHug of the day is just for you~

K9

(Always your friend as well :))


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

K9 - I never knew you were from Scottish stock! :)

I have had a very up and down relationship with my Dad throughout life but I am glad to say that although he lives in a different country from me and I rarely see him, we speak regularly and do get on very well in his (and my, now! :) ) advancing years.

So far as shocks for my Dad go, I think the biggest one was when I told him I was moving to England. I could virtually hear him swallow the telephone handset as he went to yell at me! :)

Your courage, convictions, honesty and decency never fail to impress me, K9.

Always your friend,

Gordon


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Teresa Coppens~ Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am so grateful for my Da, and his wonderfully manly teddy Bear heart. I guess we are all Daddy's Girls when it comes right down to it. I was lucky enough to discover appreciation for who my Da' is before he leaves this world. I just love that old guy!

Thank you for stopping by.

Cheers~

K9


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

A beautiful tribute to your father indeed. I am so glad you were able to share this story. I'm sure it was not easy to write. All of us dread the loss of a loved one. I'm so glad your da was there to help you through the grief and that he continues to be a source of support.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

livelonger~ It makes me happy to hear you have parents that have the "unconditional Love" gene like mine do. Having had the chance to get to know you a tiny bit in person and here on HP, my heart is telling me you would be one of the great parents we all hope for. Thanks for reading my fathers story, I just thought he needed to know.

Arms all of the way around you in a big HubHug and Shalom of course!

K9


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Keith~ Thank you, I hope to create more of these in the future.

Cheers~

K9


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

What a beautiful tribute, K9KS. You're right that having parents accept you for who you really are is a blessing, one that not everyone has. I was also fortunate to have parents who accept me for who I am. I can only hope to be as good a parent one day myself, as they were to me.


Keith Matyi profile image

Keith Matyi 5 years ago from Denton, TX

What a beautiful story...makes me want to read more of them...


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

Flora~ It was in fact a very trying time for the LGBTQ community back then. But, even in today's modern world many young people who venture out of the closet encounter less than positive results. Life and family and humans in general should be only about love. All of the fussing and fighting and holding on to resentment means so little when you stand back and look at the entire picture.

Thank you for your kind words and care surrounding the loss of my spouse. She was an amazing woman. And my father treated her like the queen she was because he loves me so very much!

HubHugs Flora~

K9


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I didn't realize you had lost your partner to cancer. I'm sorry. How wonderful that your father has been supportive. Some of Mom's cousins did not have so understanding fathers.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California Author

homesteadbound~ Thanks for commenting, it was a risky story to share, but I needed to make sure he knew at any cost. My da' is a wonderful father for sure!

HubHugs~

K9


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

This was a wonderful story of a father's love. I'm glad I had a chance to read it.

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