Father's Day Fifty Three Years Later
As I get older and closer to the end of my life, I am connected even more to the man I called "Dad"
I still miss him like crazy and even knowing it can never be, I want to go back and hug him and feel his scratchy beard on my face and have him call me "babe".
Happy Father's Day, Dad. You were the best.
So today, I was at the Hallmark store buying Father's Day cards. I dont do well at the Hallmark store, especially on the sappy holidays and Father's Day definitely qualifies as a sappy holiday.
I stood there with tears streaming down my face, reading one card after another. People noticed, which I dont really mind because I have always believed that showing emotion, even in public, means you have enough heart that showing it doesn't matter. In any case, I am powerless to control those tears when I start reading those cards which say so much.
The cards reminded me of my own Dad, who died when I was 13. You might think that he didn't have much of a chance to impact my life, but that would be wrong. He taught me how to bait a hook, cast a line, reel em' in and eventually even how to gut and clean fish. He taught me how to harmonize and if it wasnt a Nat King Cole song we sang together, it was that old standby from Charlie Chaplin "Smile", and at Christmas it was always "Adeste Fidelis".
He took me to old Crosley Field to watch Cincinnati Reds baseball and he made sure I knew the names of every player on the roster. I think I could still manage to name most of them all these years later.
When I was 5 or 6, he woke me up in the middle of the night, carried me to the kitchen window, to show me our backyard during a heavy snow. I remember that night so vividly. Even as young as I was, I knew, on some level, my Dad had a deep heart and an even deeper soul.
He taught me how to make coffee and back in those days, it was percolator coffee. Dad said I made a good cup of coffee. He taught me how to make potato chips in the deep fryer. He was winter, summer, fall and spring all wrapped up in a tall man who always had a smile on his face even in those dark days fighting his fight against cancer which he eventually lost. It took 3 long years, but eventually cancer claimed him and during those 3 years, I learned more about the human spirit, than I've learned all the rest of my life.
He taught me about love of family and being there for those you love and who love you. He gave me the gift of being able to connect with people because that is exactly how he was. My Dad never knew a stranger.
I can still hear his voice. I can still smell his after shave. I know that the things he taught me, the love he gave me, sustained me through my own life's challenges and I thank him for that.
He's been gone a long time now. He never got to see me really grow up, get married, have children. He was robbed of so much.
This Father's Day, like all of them, I honor the man, the memory.....my Dad.