When I think back to my earliest memories of my Father, I remember this big fuzzy guy, (literally, my dad was always sporting a full-on beard he seldom trimmed, and stood a little under 6’4”) with arms wide open. I could always count on my dad for bear hugs, especially when I fell down and skimmed a knee, or was feeling sad. On cold winter days’ dad was the first to show up when hot chocolate and marshmallows were in order.
Every daughter remembers her father in terms of protector and provider at least, that is the ideal we all hope for.
I have to laugh now as I think of the most interesting person my dad became as I grew into a young lady, and suitors came knocking. It was during my teen years that this warm fuzzy bear turned into what I can now look back and laughingly proclaim as an overbearing police officer. Boys would innocently enough come knocking, prepared for an innocent enough date, and my dad would sit them down on the living room couch, and begin what we all rolled our eyes at and referred to as “the interrogation.” There was no preparation that was enough to prepare our innocent dates. He would even dress formally for the occasion. When a date arrived, he would say in a stern voice: “What do you do son? Most if any, only worked at like, a cheeseburger stand after school. “How did you meet my daughter?” Jee, I don’t know dad, we go to class together. “Where do you think you are going tonight?” At that point if I was lucky, I would still be going on a date.
The worst would always be when my dad brought out the handcuffs, which were fake of course and place them right under the nose of my date. “Son, if you even think of laying a hand on my daughter, I’ll have you incarcerated so fast, that you won’t see your seventeenth birthday a free man. Do you know that I am a civilian law agent?” That was enough to send most dates out the door. Most of the time I was returned home before 7:30 if I did manage to get out, much to my dismay. Dating wasn’t really a fun thing. By the time I was 17, I became a much wiser young lady, sneaking out my bedroom window to rendezvous with one or two potential serious suitors.
I remember one morning when I woke up to find a tree cutter trimming the tree outside my bedroom window, much to my chagrin. That was the end of my bedroom flights of fancy for the next year until I graduated high school.
Fortunately, my dad and I maintained a solid relationship, and I’ll never forget when tears filled the big old bear’s eyes when he walked me down the aisle the day I got married. Really, he was a true softy. My mom and dad were married for 45 years. What made their marriage so strong was their commitment to communication and honesty. My mom was a feisty woman, and I remember on one or two occasions my mom, who was only 4’9”, challenging my father to a fisticuffs to get her way. My dad would have to hold back a chuckle or two, because I could tell my mom was quite serious. One time I remember she came up behind my dad and bopped him upside the head with a sack of flour. The entire thing exploded however, and flour went everywhere. Rather than get angry, my father followed her into the kitchen and started a food fight.
We all joined in, and by the time the battle was over, I don’t really recall who had won; we had all piled on top of my father however, who surrendered and decided to take us all out for ice cream.
Dad lived a good life. He respected and cherished us all, and held to
old-fashioned values which helped make me the person I am today. I will always
be thankful for the influence he had on my life while growing up, and the
lasting memories he shared with my children. Thanks dad, for being such a loving
husband to mom, father, and grandparent.