Gratitude Sunday: Remembering My Dad

Since my dad died three years ago, Father’s Day is the worst day of the year for me.  I’m depressed for two or weeks before.  I want to stay and bed and do nothing.  I think it’s because of all the Father’s Day commercials that are on tv and basically every where.

Remember dad.  That’s what the commercials say.  My heart says.  I didn’t forget.  How can I forget?  I will never forget.  He was my world.  My hero.  He was my dad.

I wish I could crawl in a hole today and just disappear until tomorrow.  I wish I didn’t have to visit my dad’s crypt at the cemetery.  I wish I didn’t have see all of the dad’s going out to eat or doing special things with their kids.

But I can’t.

So instead I’m going to do is make a list of what my dad taught me and the values he instilled in me and be grateful for the time we had together here on earth.

The gift of laughter.  My dad was funny.  He was always saying something funny to make people laugh.  I remember a couple of years ago I took my dad to his doctor’s appointment.  He looked at the doctor and asked, “My daughter looks good for being 60 doesn’t she?”  I slapped him, but I laughed.  He laughed.  Doctor Brian laughed.  I was 50.  The zipper of his pants was always down.  My mom was always tell him to zip up.  If you commented on his zipper being down he would tell you “What can’t get up, can’t get out” or “I’m trying to keep my tool cool.” I just shook my head.  He always joked around and one of his favorite ways to irritate my mom was to tell people that he watered my mom’s plants at night by peeing on them.   One of favorite memories happened 20 years ago at Road America.  We were at the Indy Car races and the lady was singing the National Anthem.  We are standing on the bleachers.  There had to have been 100 people around us and in the middle of the National Anthem he yells out “Will someone shoot the bitch?”  OMG!  I was so embarassed.  My mom was embarrassed.  My friends and the people around us thought  it was hilarious.  Everyone started laughing.   The lady was terrible and totally ruined it.  He shouldn’t have said anything, but that was my dad.  Off the cuff.  He spoke how he felt.  There was definitely no filter on that mouth.

A giving heart.  My dad would give you the shirt off his back (my mom too) if you needed it.  If you needed his help all you had to do was call and he would do what he could to help.  There were several times in high school my friends didn’t have a ride to get to where I was at (maybe the skating rink) and he would pick them up and give them a ride.  He would always ask me if I needed money.  If he had it his way and had the money he would have bought enough land for all of us kids to live in seperate land on his property.

His love of shooting pool (billards).  My dad loved to shoot pool and was a hustler in his twenties.  We’ve had a pool table in our house ever since I can remember.  He taught all of kids how to shoot.  In high school we would play to 100.  Whoever got 100 balls in first won.  You shot until you missed and it was the other persons turn.  I never won.  I rarely made it to 50, but after high school I went to the bars (I was legal at 18) and started to shoot on a league.  Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I continued to get better to the point that I would beat him.  He got mad, but he was proud.  I loved to stop in at his house and share my story of some cocky guy strutting his stuff in the bar thinking he could beat me because I was a girl and me handing his ass to him after I kicked it.  Those stories made both of our days.

Saving change.  Ever since I can remember my dad has saved change.  He always had coins jingling in his pocket.  We would ask for them, but he rarely shared his change.  “The coins go in the bank,” He would tell us.  His banks were “I dream of Jeannie” bottles.  The tall, decorative bottles with the tapered neck and the big bottoms.  I remember he had a orange bottle that my mom found him at a garage sale.  My parents saved their money for vacations.  After we graduated, my dad rolled his coins and saved it for a rainy day.  Saving change has always been a part of my life.  I have saved my own change since I started babysitting.  My husband and I save our change.  When my husband and I got married we had a memory candle to remember all of the important people that weren’t there. (My dad was still alive).  After we moved I found the memory candle and I got rid of the candle, but kept the candle holder.  It’s glass and has an really pretty saying about remembering people that we have loved and lost.  I repurposed it to “My pennies from Heaven” holder.  My dad was always picking up up coins from on the ground, from coin releases on pay phones and candy and cigarette (remember those???) machines.  I know my dad is with me when I find a penny.  I take it home and put it in the jar.  I wonder how long it will take me to fill it up.

His love of camping.  My dad grew up about five hours away from our house.  Every summer we would take our pop up camper and my grandma for a week to visit his aunts and uncles.  Back then it was pit toilets and no showers.  I liked seeing my relatives, but I really hated the pit toilets.   I loved sitting around the camp fire at night and walking and hanging out during the day.  I loved being with my dad.  Anywhere.  I remember walking to the bathroom with my dad at night with our flashlights and making  patterns in the trees.   (Even now I walk to the bathroom when we are camping every night.  With my flashlight in hand I make patterns in the trees.  I wonder if he can see me).  I think of my dad and the good times we had.  After high school I didn’t go camping again until I met my husband.  He, too, loved camping so we bought a trailer and before my dad passed he and my mom would come and visit us when we were camping.  It was cool to be able to share that with him.

My love of M&M’s.  I loved m&m’s since I can remember.  My mom told me a couple of years ago that’s how my dad potty trained me.  If I went to the bathroom I would get one m&m and if I didn’t go I wouldn’t get any.  I always thought my mom potty trained us.  My dad must have always gave me the brown ones because those are my favorites.

My dad was a special person.  To this day my cousins still tell me that they wished they had my parents as their own.

I miss my dad dearly.  I miss him every day.  I miss seeing him sitting on my parents deck smoking a cigarette (which I hated).  I miss hearing him calling me “kid”.  I miss seeing him smile.  I miss watching football with him.  He’s a Packer fan.  I’m a Steeler fan.  I miss him in my new house even though he has never been there.  I wish he could come and see it.  I wish I could see the happiness on his face when he see it for the first time. (He hated me living at my old house).

He made my heart smile and I was very lucky to have him as my dad.

I love you, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.

 

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