I speak with my Dad on the phone about once or so a week, and during our last conversation he tried to get me to swear I wasn’t going to get him anything for Father’s Day. I’m pretty sure he tries to get me to say that every year. I did send a little something small to him (sorry, Dad!), but since it’s so very small I’m also giving him this.
My top 10 memories of my Dad (in no particular order):
10) When I was maybe six or seven my Dad used to take us to this park in Waukegan, IL, just north of Chicago. I vividly remember how he used to play catch with us, and how he would throw the baseball so high up in the air that I couldn’t see it anymore. I thought he was a superhero for that.
Dad and I at a Dodgers game in 2012.
9) Speaking of when I was little, Dad was (is?) forever playing jokes on me. He could make these whistling noises that sounded like bird calls. Back when having a car with automatic windows was new and exciting, he’d surreptitiously roll down the window while whistling and then try to convince me a bird flew into the car. I fell for it more than I’d care to confess. I was never all that bright, was I, Dad? :)
Dad walks me down the aisle.
8) I could always rely on my Dad to chaperone my school field trips. There were a couple I know he really enjoyed (trips to Ed Debevic’s and lots of Cubs games) and some I know he didn’t (the art museum). Still, it always felt special to be the one with a parent there, and I know my friends thought his jokes were funny, even if I didn’t.
Dad plays ball with a strange dog in Apple Hill, CA.
7) My Dad has these sayings that have sneakily integrated into my adult life. Like, the other day at work I caught myself saying to someone “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” He never did succeed in getting me to be 100% punctual (just ask my husband), but that one I do remember and try to live by.
Mike and Dad trim up the tree.
6) I didn’t have anyone to take me dress shopping for my junior prom so my Dad gamely signed up for the job. He joked on the car ride to the mall that I’d probably fall in love with the first one I tried on, convince myself it was too soon to actually buy one, force him to take me to 74 more shops, and then go back for the first dress. That’s exactly what happened and he didn’t complain.
Dad and I in Bodega Bay in 2009.
5) My Dad is a big fan of sending greeting cards to people. He always has been, always will be. And he’d meticulously select cards for people for more obscure holidays like Halloween or St. Paddy’s. When I was little it felt like we were standing in the card aisle for eons. I even once accused him of picking out cards and sending them to people he didn’t even know. But you know what? I always look forward to getting cards in the mail from my Dad. Somehow, as if there’s some wizardry involved, he always manages to get a card delivered on the EXACT day it should. Mike and I marvel at that. Also, for several years in a row my Dad and I sent one another the very same Halloween card.
Mike and Dad enjoy apple cider donuts and, I don’t know, talk about sports probably.
4) For several years while I was in college my Dad and I settled into a routine of celebrating the holidays just the two of us. We’d make a giant turkey or ham and then choke down leftovers for days and days. It never did occur to us to do something more simple than that or to buy a smaller turkey. We also suffered through more than one cooking disaster. It’s okay, though, because it was just us. No pressure. No noise. Just football and puzzles.
This shot was not staged.
3) Dad has always believed in me, even when I wasn’t certain of myself. He knew I’d win all the scholarships I applied to (didn’t even grab a program on Award Night in high school. He wanted to be surprised when they called my name). He knew I’d get into IU and that I’d do well. He knew that if I’d chosen to marry Mike that he was a good guy and that we’d be fine. He put me on a plane to California without voicing an opinion or a concern. I knew he was nervous, but he trusted me to do my best and get along fine. He’s supported every decision I’ve ever made.
2) Dad and I have a lot of inside jokes. I’ll provide them to you context-free so that they can stay that way: “Mumble mumble what?” “Uh, let’s go break stuff.” “Dad? Dad? Nevermind.” “We’ll see.”
The best seats in the house, right Dad?
1) And, of course, there was that time I lost the tv remote. We looked absolutely everywhere. We tore the house apart – throwing pillows and moving furniture. After several hours, and when my Dad’s annoyance level was on maximum overdrive, we finally drove across town and bought a new one. Two or three days later the remote turned up. In a bag of BBQ potato chips in the cupboard. No joke. I must have knocked the remote into the bag on the floor and then closed them and put them away. It’s something only I would do.
Dad makes the wedding toast.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!