Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there. I think EVERY day should be celebrated as Father's Day--and Mother's Day as well. I want to share some things that I remember about my dad who died when I was 10 years old.

As a girl and even into adulthood, I missed him so much. Even today, I can get teary eyed if I'm not careful, when I'm thinking or talking about my dad. (It's probably unresolved grief or some other emotional disorder but it is what it is.) At any rate, my daughter asked me the other day to tell her something about her grandfather whom she's never met of course. I told her he was a lot like her cousin George, who is named after my dad. Dad was a fun loving person--I remember that he laughed and joked a lot, but he was a very responsible person at the same time. He liked to whistle while he was working around the house--I rarely hear people whistling any more. Does that mean we're less happy and contented than we were in the 50's?

My dad earned some kind of mechanical degree through a correspondence school and supported the 6 of us in the family with his blue collar wages. After work he would tend the garden and the yard and in the winter, take us skating and sledding and spend time in his basement workshop. As a young man in the 30's he and a buddy took off from Minnesota to travel to the west coast and they landed jobs in the orchards of California. I like to think that the oranges I eat today come from the trees he planted back then.

I loved my dad very much. I always felt valuable and special when I was with him. He seemed to enjoy having me with him while he did things and he taught me how to use woodworking and gardening tools by letting me work alongside him. He would spend ten cents to buy an ice cream cone for me while my mom was the one who kept a tight fist on the pocketbook. After our Saturday night baths, my sisters and I, in our bathrobes, would "dance" with Dad by standing on his feet and moving around the living room floor with him. I believe Lawrence Welk was our radio dance band. After his death from what was probably his 5th or 6th heart attack, I missed having him at my graduations, my wedding, and the births of my children.

To all the "kids" whose dads are still dancing on this earth, enjoy every minute you have with them. Make time to spend with Dad--and Mom too. Appreciate them. Savor every minute you have with them. If you have problems with Dad--or Mom--work it out. Solve the problem or let it go. All too soon your dads will be gone and you'll only have memories to cherish. Let your memories be good ones.

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