Since Fathers Day is this weekend, I decided to give myself a present and spend some extra time reflecting on my dad.
I know I've mentioned before that my relationship with mom was less than great. (It sucked, actually) But my dad is a different story. He was a bigger than life person to me, not just in stature but in personality. Dad was one of those people that everyone loved. Everyone wanted to be with him. He played piano, guitar, sang, told the best jokes ever, inspired stimulating conversations and on and on.
I have 19 cousins and all of them loved to hang out with Uncle Dick, especially in Canada. Always the life of the party, I recall one night around the campfire, listening to dad play his ukelele and making up a song about my cousin out in the boat making out with her boyfriend. (If you've ever been around water, you know that sound carries and you can hear EVERYTHING that comes off the water, but they can't hear you.) hehehehehe
Dad was also just a big kid and would love to find a back country road with a big hill and get the speed up to about 80 and then put the car in neutral and see how far we could coast down the hill.
A baker and cook by trade, I used to love to sit in the kitchen and watch him work his magic. I miss that little whispered whistle he did while he worked and I now catch myself doing the same thing.
We are partly of German descent and all my life dad's nickname for me was Hootz Footz (phonetic) All my life I loved that he had a special name just for me. Then one day when I was in my 30's, I finally asked him what it meant. With a chuckle, he told me it meant Dogs Foot. Really????? That was the endearment he came up with for me? Dogs foot??
Mom and dad lived in Florida and the summer before he died, he came up to Ohio (no doubt to get away from mom) and spent the summer with me and the kids. Bob and I had just started dating and to quote a line from Forest Gump, the two of them were like peas and carrots. I'll spare you the recalling of the farting contests.
Anyway, I would wake up in the morning and dad would have the coffee ready and he would sit at the kitchen table working on a crossword and would have a second newspaper there so I could work on it too. At night I would come home from work and he would have dinner ready. That's when it occurred to me what I really needed was a good wife!!
One month before he died and a month before my wedding to Bob, dad wrote me a letter telling me how happy he was that I had found such a wonderful guy and that he felt he didn't have to worry about my any longer. I think he knew his time was up.
That was 22 years ago and I still miss him like hell. When he got older, he just wanted to relax and enjoy a simple life but he never got to go to Australia like he wanted and he literally worked the day he died at age 73. He got screwed out of a lot of pleasure he should have enjoyed.
He died suddenly and I never got to say goodbye. Probably better that way though cause the memory will always be of the bigger-than-life man and not some feeble, needy old man. He would have hated that.
So here's to dads that weren't just fathers but were dads. There's a difference. I love you Pop.