Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Happy Father's Day

Dad and Me

My Dad was only 18 when I was born. By today's standards this is extremely young, but in the 60s it wasn't all that unusual. When my youngest brother was born in 1984, my Dad was 36 years old. I thought he was crazy. He was too old to be a father. I can laugh about that now.

My Dad is the most patient man I know. I don't ever remember him getting too excited about much of anything. I've heard stories, but I've never actually seen it. He is always calm.

I rarely remember him punishing me, but when he did it was awful. The worst was when he would say, "I'm disappointed in you." I strived to avoid those words.

Dad always encouraged me to go back to school. I finally did. It took me years, but I now have the diploma to prove it.

Things I Remember About My Dad (somethings he likes to tease me with that never happened, but I know it did)

Dad sang in the car, in the shower, and just about anywhere. Delta Dawn and The Sugar Shack were too of his favorites.

He had a blue 66' Ford Falcon he called Nellie. He bought the car new before I was born with cash he earned from his paper route and driving the school bus. Can you believe they used to let teenagers drive a school bus?

One night he was making cornbread muffins and all we had left was chocolate milk; he used it. They were awful, but my sister, Dawn loved them.

We had a race one night, me and Dad against Mom and Dawn. Since Randall and Dennis were babies and we couldn't leave them, my parents timed each other. I remember a dog getting after us as we ran, but Dad scooped me up and fussed at the dog. It only slowed us a minute or two. Mom and Dawn lost. Mom claimed they had to stop by grandmother's for Dawn to use the bathroom, which was probably true. Dawn always had to go to the bathroom.

My parents were always competitive with each other. Scrabble was one of their favorite games. They were brutal and played for high points. In my Mom's stacks of pictures, there are several of their games at conclusion showing the words and points they had made, often the game went well above 400 points for both of them.

Dad, Amanda, Elizabeth, Randall, Ethan
Dad loved Star Trek, Daniel Boone, and Emergency 51. I can remember watching all of those with him on our new console color television.

Several years ago we were at the movies, Dad, me, Randall, and Dennis. We had some of the kids with us, but I'm not sure which ones. I think my kids thought they were too cool to go to the movies with their Mom. Dad looks down the row and laughs. "I never thought I'd be taking my kids to see a cartoon  when they're over 30." We saw The Incredibles.

Dad, Me, Dennis
I haven't always appreciated my father as I should. I was very upset with him for divorcing my mother. It took a long time to come to terms with that. He didn't abandon me, but it seemed that way to my ten year old self. When Mom got cancer and I learned she was dying, I was overwhelmed. The one person I would share such awful news with I couldn't because she was dying. I went to my Dad. He was there for me. He was there for all of us. He still us. I've come to understand, he was always there, but out of respect for Mom, he let her remain center stage in our lives. I'll always miss my Mom, but I'm thankful for the wonderful father I'm blessed with.

Today we'll be having one of Dad's favorites, brownies. My Dad sure loves chocolate. Happy Father's Day Daddy!

Happy Father's Day to my brothers, Randall and Dennis. I appreciate how you stepped in to be father figures to my children.

Happy Father's Day Chuck. You're such a wonderful man and I'm so thankful to be marrying you next week. Five more days.

Elizabeth, Dad, Ethan
Dad and Zachary

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