Happy Dad’s Day!

“Handy as a pocket in a shirt” was one of my dad’s favourite sayings. I know it is not original to him, but it became one of the “dad-isms” that my family has come to cherish. Dad had a million of them, but for some reason that is the one that is most memorable to me.

What is a father? We all have a different answer to this– depending on our experience. But with Father’s Day coming up–the time is ripe to reflect on one of the the most important men in many of our lives. First and foremost, my dad loved his family–he was always there for me, and I suspect my brothers and sisters–but while we all had the same dad, we each experienced him differently. He loved and supported us all–but he supported each of us differently, I guess because we all had different needs.

When I was a little girl, then a preteen, a teen, and even a young adult without a licence, my dad would chauffeur me everywhere without question. And I mean everywhere. At any time. Sometimes he took his life in his hands when I just had to be somewhere, damn the weather. (I am amazed at the stupidity and urgency and selfishness of my youth.) When I was away at school and lived in residence, he would pick me up on Sundays and bring me home for Sunday dinner, then take me back to school on Monday morning, because it was on his “way to work”. It really wasn’t on his way–but at least it was in the same city. I fondly remember those 40-minute trips as time we had together to talk about things–his work, my schooling, our favourite houses on the way, and just life in general. I got to know him better during these trips–it was our uninterrupted time together.

Of course, he walked me proudly down the aisle at my wedding, and together with my mother “gave me away” by responding “we do” when the minister asked “who gives this woman in marriage”. As old fashioned as the tradition was, and as modern as I thought I was, I am still pleased that my dad (and mom) were there to give me away (a somewhat weird concept but one I am not going to question, lo, this 36 years later).

I miss my dad. I remember when I had a bookstore uptown a few decades ago, my dad would ride his bike uptown, get us both a coffee—and bring it to the store. That is how I would start my work day, with a coffee and little conversation with my dad. He was a funny guy, kind, and to my mind the best dad a girl could have.

He was also a musician–he could play the guitar, banjo, fiddle, ukulele, and a few chords on the piano. He played in a band with his dad and brother when he was a young man. At one time people would tell me they used to go to dances where my dad played. Those days are gone, as are the people who used to go to the dances. At home he was forever strumming on the guitar, something we took for granted–never really realizing his talent. After he retired, he returned to playing in a band–and nothing made him happier. I think it was then that I realized his talent, but still took it for granted. He passed his musical talent onto my eldest son–it skipped the generation of his own kids.

I would be remiss if I did not mention another father, my father-in-law, who quietly took over the mantle of “dad” after my dad joined a band in heaven. It was never official–never said aloud, but he served beautifully as my other dad. He was always kind to me, advised me more by his actions than words, and though he could not replace my dad, he was wonderful in his own way.

My husband is “dad” to my two sons. They give him a hard time sometimes–joking and kibitzing, but they respect and love their dad, who like my dad, is willing to do pretty much anything they ask. They are a bit “spoiled” that way, as I was. But I think we are allowed to do a bit of spoiling–after all, they are at an age now where they spoil us.

Father’s Day is an emotional day for me. And I must say I am a bit jealous of those whose dads are not memories–but I am happy for them. It makes me remember how lucky I was (and am to have the good memories.)

Published in: on June 12, 2018 at 12:47 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful post my friend. I miss my daddy too. Hard to believe he has been gone two years now :(.

  2. I envy you your father. I’m not jealous, because that to me implies a wish to deprive somebody of something, and I surely do not want to do that.

    My father (I refuse to call him Dad) was a selfish self centered weakling bully. I could have done with your Dad, I think.

  3. I have a wonderful dad, loving and caring, a man who in my eyes could do anything he tried to do. He is everything a dad should be

  4. you and I are very lucky…

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