There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994
I guess that’s kind of how I feel about the memories I hold in my mind. When I think of him, there are distinct flashes running through my mind…memories that when woven together create a picture of my dad, and what it was like to be his daughter.
I remember how he always made hot cocoa for us on the cold mornings, on the electric stove, and half the time it would boil over. And he would swear in his non-swearing way that he had. I remember how good that cocoa tasted. And I remember how if it sat for a few minutes it would get that skin on the top and we would all freak out about the skin. And he would just skim it off, stir up that cocoa and serve it, piping hot.
I remember how he would make us grapefruit. He’d slice it in half, score it for us, and then sprinkle sugar on top. We would devour them. And then he would squeeze all the leftover juice in a glass for us to drink. Nothing tasted better.
I remember how he used to mow the lawn in faded cutoff jeans. And his big huge massive square softball cap. And then he would come in, smelling of sweat and grass and gasoline, and sit down in the kitchen and drink a Schlitz.
I remember how he ALWAYS had change in his pocket when we went to the pool so we could get a freezer pop, or a pretzel rod.
I can remember being able to smell the spaghetti and meatballs cooking from the street on Autumn days that were still warm enough to keep the window open. We would walk in the house, up the stairs and there he would be, in the kitchen with the little white tv on, watching football and stirring his sauce. He always had a dishrag over his shoulder. Always.
My dad loves the most ridiculous music. Like Ray Stevens. I’ll never hear another Ray Stevens song without thinking of him. Of course, I probably wouldn’t even know Ray Stevens existed if it wasn’t for my dad.
One time I asked my dad what a democrat was. I wish I could remember what he said. But I knew it wasn’t good, whatever it was. (No offense to all y’all democrats out there…)
I remember how he buried my bunny when he died. I was in my twenties, and I still couldn’t do it myself.
When I took my childhood dog to be put to sleep, he came home before me to clean up after her…put away her blanket and her bowls and her things, so that I wouldn’t have to. I bet he cried through the entire thing.
I can still remember my dad walking me down the isle. He told me a joke about polish brides. (We have some serious polishness in our family). I think he was trying to keep both of us from falling apart.
And I remember how he wasn’t quite sure about my wedding dress…because it was sleeveless. And he said “There’s just something about a bare-armed bride…” And my mom was worried that I was offended. But I wasn’t. It was just Dad, being worried about his little girl.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my dad’s love affair with duct tape.
My dad knows someone everywhere he goes.
My dad loves to help.
My dad needs to be needed.
My dad is the kindest man I know.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you so very much.