Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I wish all you awesome dads out there a very Happy Father's Day. Dad's are such special people. They teach us, guide us, scold us, and, often, just don't "like" us. But in the end, they love us. Sometimes, they even spoil us.

Who, but a dad, could thank you, year after year, for yet another tie? Who would go to work all day and come home and play catch with you (hopefully not wearing shorts with his work socks)? Who would drop you off at the midnight movies because you didn't drive yet (and bust you smoking a cigarette and not tell your mom for a year)? Who welcomed your friends into the home and treated them like his own kids? Your dad did.

I have many memories of my dad and am really thankful for the time I had with him. This year marks the sixth Father's Day without my dad. Six years of not getting him a tie or a bottle of Jim Beam or a ticket to see Tom Jones for Father's Day. Six years ago on May 1, 2005, my dad had his three daughters with him on his last day visiting, looking at pictures, having lunch and meeting with the hospice nurse. He was failing and ready to go and I feel we were finally ready to let him go. He had been suffering with heart failure but was stubborn, and I believe, waiting for one last chance to have us kids together with him. He had a wonderful day, and for that, I am so thankful. Of the many fond memories I have of my dad, one will always stick with me.

I was raised by a mother that at the time would have been considered either a "food faddist" or a "health food nut". We didn't have white bread or white rice, and white sugar was scarce. We also didn't have dessert on any regular basis. My mom brought us up to believe that yogurt or cottage cheese with canned peaches was dessert. On occasion, she would bake peanut butter cookies and then my little sister and I would get one cookie each, one night a week, before going to bed. That was a treat!

My dad basically went along with my mom's "rules", as long as he had the stuff he liked. He was a major meat and potatoes guy that was raised in the depression and considered things like hot dogs and sliced potatoes to be comfort food.

My parents would usually do the weekly grocery shopping on Saturdays. Sometimes, though, things ran out during the week, or were just missed on the Saturday shopping trip. My sister, Carol, and I were both determined to try this Imperial Margarine. Why not, really? After all, you could eat a piece of bread that was "buttered" with this margarine, and music would play and a crown would suddenly be on your head! Well, who wouldn't want that? We begged my mom for this margarine, but to no avail. She was a Mazola gal all the way. That was the only margarine allowed in our house.

It just so happened that the Mazola was out and an "emergency", out of the weekly norm shopping trip was required. My dad was pegged with that job. My dad was nowhere near as strict with products as my mom. Carol and I went to the store with our dad. Our begging worked with him and luckily we convinced him to get Imperial Margarine instead of Mazola. We were quite excited. The crown was finally in sight!

Well, we got home and unpacked the grocery bag. Much to my mom's horror, we did not bring home Mazola. She hit the roof and demanded this "crap" be returned and replaced with Mazola. We lost the battle. My dad gave in and off to the store he went to return the Imperial. Needless to say, Carol and I were not happy. The crown that was so close, was now completely out of reach.

He did try in so many ways to make us happy (even if my mom didn't approve). I miss my dad, but am happy for the time that I had him in my life. I also respect the fact that no matter how tough it may have been to provide for a family (and yes, my mom worked too), no matter how much he may have wanted to split (he said there were times) or how much he may have wanted to slap me for mouthing off (oh yeah, often), he stuck it out and did the best he could! What more could you ask for?

Happy Father's Day, guys! I share this so that you may understand that the little things you do, really ARE meaningful. You don't have to buy your kid a car to be special (unless you've raised a monster of course). I raise my glass to you and wish you a wonderful day!

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