It’s been a sad couple of weeks. There have been some suicides, some of my friends have lost their moms and their dads, a friend lost his sister, our county lost two officers in the line of duty. There have been many tears shed. There have been funerals. One of the officers was killed right in the Panera where I’ve met moms of other gay kids and it’s where we have our PFLAG board meetings. Really scary…and really sad. One of the officers funeral processions went by our church. Some of us stood in the parking lot as the procession went by to show our support. There was a steady stream of cars for one hour. One hour. The respect and love that was poured out for those two officers was amazing to see…and humbling. We owe them so much. All of them who serve and protect us every day.
Funerals are interesting. Someone recently said we should have a funeral without the dead people. Why is that? Because they bring people together. How many times have you gone to a funeral and seen family that you haven’t seen in years. What’s the common thing we say to each other in those instances? “I wish we were meeting under better circumstances.” Why don’t we? The business of life gets in the way all too often. One of the things that strikes me at every funeral I have ever been to are the stories that the loved ones tell of the person they’ve loved and lost. Many times I learn things about the person I never knew. And if I’m at a funeral in support of a friend and didn’t actually know the person who died…I usually leave wishing I had.
So…it’s gotten me to thinking. Why don’t we tell people how we feel about them while they are still here? Why do we tell the stories and what they’ve meant to us after they are gone? As I’ve shared in another post, there were so many things that I wanted to tell my mom, but she died suddenly without warning and then it was too late. I will probably add to that post as time goes on as it was really painful to write it.
So…this post is dedicated to my dad…who is very much alive and well as I write this (smile).
I have always been a daddy’s girl. Growing up my dad was like a super hero to me…he still is (smile). I wanted to go everywhere that he did…even if that meant hanging out at the garage while his car was worked on. They always told me I was an old soul in a kids body so I never needed to be entertained and I always got along with adults…so sitting there waiting for my dad’s car was no big deal to me.
If you want to know where I get my quirky sense of humor, just talk to my dad. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree (smile). And if you know me personally, you know I don’t mind making a fool of myself if it means getting a laugh or having fun (just watch one of my Lucille videos). Got that from my dad. He would always play the craziest things with me when I was little. At the time, we lived in a house that was basically a living room and kitchen on the first floor. My dad would sit at the kitchen table, and I would be a “monster” in the living room. I would put my arms over my head to make myself bigger and would give my most scary roar. My dad would pretend to be scared. He was so good at it that I truly believed I was scaring him. To this day, I can still see his terrified face as the “monster” got closer and closer to him. Then there was the game that my mom hated. I would pretend to be a puppy. My dad sitting in the same chair at the kitchen table would make a fuss over me…”oh isn’t that the cutest puppy!” He would pat me on the head and pretend to give me a treat. I would act like a “good” puppy until he gave me the treat at which time I would pretend to bite his fingers. He then would proceed to whack me with a newspaper. Like I said…it mortified my mom, but I thought it was hilarious and it was one of my favorite “games” to play. He acted like I really bit him…hmmm….maybe he should have been an actor (smile).
He spent hours at that same kitchen table doing eye exercises with me when I was little because I had a lazy eye. Thanks to him it is gone. He also spent hours going over time-table flash cards to get me caught up to my class (I changed from public to private school in the 3rd grade and was very far behind everyone). He never gave up on me.
He would read me bedtime stories at night. Sometimes he would read to me a book that he was reading. It went over my head, but I didn’t mind…I just liked spending time with my dad. There was one time when he came into the room where I was waiting for him and he stubbed his toe on the door. He jumped around holding his foot for what seemed like forever. Still makes me giggle when I think about it today. I know…not very nice…but remember I got my sense of humor from my dad (smile).
When I was ten, he built our first color television. He had ordered it through the mail. It came with big instruction binders and he spent what felt like hours in the basement putting it together. I remember being so impressed by that…and totally thrilled to have a color television. As I got older, he would continue to help with my math homework. Algebra and geometry where the bane of my existence…but he persevered and I passed. He was the master of board games and spent hours playing them with me. He taught me how to play chess, how to budget my money, how to do my taxes, and many other life skills that help me to this day.
He was the king of embarrassing me as a teenager. It included fake tripping in the middle of restaurants, answering the door when a date would come to pick me up with a huge sombrero on his head, or a baseball cap with the bill flipped up, wearing his robe. But making the boyfriends think he was crazy is a dad’s job…right??
I can’t go to a grocery store and see butterscotch krimpets, peanut butter tandykakes, slimjims, or gingersnap cookies without thinking of my dad. These were all goodies that he would bring me home on grocery shopping day (not all at once of course). Late night grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and midnight runs to Dunkin Donuts (which was right up the street from our house in the city) are also fond memories that I have growing up with my dad.
He served in the army beginning at the ripe old age of 17, worked hard for many years enduring strikes and lay-offs, buried his first wife (my mom) when he was 52 and his second wife 10 years after that. He is married a third time to a wonderful woman who unfortunately is sick with kidney disease. He has not had an easy time of it, but he still has that silly sense of humor.
He is my biggest supporter of my blog and its controversial topic. He has accepted his gay grandson without batting an eye. He is smart, and funny, and like I said…still my super hero. I appreciate all that he has taught me and all the memories he has given me. I love him to the moon and back.
Dad…I love you more…and you know…love matters.