Happy Father’s Day, gentlemen!
Thank you for always giving us a hand to hold, shining lights under beds to prove the monsters weren’t there, for taking us junkin’ for car parts, for runny scrambled eggs, and yelling at us (which was code for “I love you”). And also for not getting too upset when an excited child peed down your back on the 4th of July because they were so thrilled by the fireworks.
To my Dad, especially, yes, those are just a few of my memories of my early childhood. I remember being so little and thinking you were so very big. You were my buddy and I loved getting to go out on rides with you. We’d go over to see the Thomases. (Remember the Hansel and Gretel house on the way there?) Or maybe to see Uncle Rudy and Mr. Bones and Bernie and Peaches. I also remember garbage pickin’ (the night we found Jen’s frog!), working on cars together (you always let me help you bleed the brakes), walks back to check the bridge over the creek, and trips to the airport so I could see the Sea World animals arrive on the planes.
So, too, do I recall how you rehabilitated Irving the crow. I can see in my mind’s eye the cage he was in. And on more than one occasion, I know you’d rescue birds that flew into our front window on Westchester Drive. You always did have a soft spot for animals. I think that’s the only reason we got away with bringing Rondi into our family, and Charlie, and Teddy, and Maggie, and every other pet we ever had. Oh, and my little gray kitten we had for such a short time on Espola. We’d find you asleep on the sofa with him curled up in the crook of your arm. You “fought” us on getting that cat — and Jeni’s — but once they were in the house, you loved them just as much as if you’d picked them out yourself.
We had some fantastic family trips as well. I don’t know anyone else who would sit up all night on a plane with his kid and try to figure out what the “big, round, square, silver, gold, shiny thing” was. Or who’d load up a motorhome with your three girls, plus another kid, and haul us all up and down the coast of California. And there were trips to Arizona and Washington, and even back to Ohio. You always made sure we had someplace fun to go and, even better, made sure we were surrounded by people we loved and who loved us.
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to realize how special all those memories truly are. Sometimes you know it even as the moments are happening.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve made many mistakes, but you’ve shown me more patience, kindness, and love than I ever believed I deserved. I stumble and fall, and yet you still are there to help me back up, dust off my knees, and encourage me to keep on trying. It means the world to me, Dad.
I love you! Happy Father’s Day!
Updated: Perfect example of a mistake — I peed down my mom’s neck, not my dad’s. Ay yi yi.