Sunday, June 20, 2004

The one with my Dad.

In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to share some of my favorite memories of my Dad, who passed away over 11 years ago.

He made a MEAN breakfast. We're talking eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, biscuits, anything that would induce a stroke. We used to BEG him to make breakfast on the weekends. SO GOOD.

When I was little and went through a period where I didn't like to drink milk, he'd add food coloring to it - blue, green, whatever - and suddenly it was DELICIOUS!

If my sister and I ever overslept, he'd come into our room and put on country music super loud. "Okay, okay, we're UP! Turn it OFF!"

I had a little medical problem when I was very young, which required many doctors' visits. My Dad took me to every single one of them, and then afterwards he'd take me to lunch, or shopping.

When I was very little we used to nap together in his recliner. He'd wake up to pools of drool all over his shirt and just laugh and laugh.

My Dad gave funny little words of advice in which I never understood. His favorite was, "tell them to go pound salt". I never did, because I didn't know what it meant, but it was comforting anyway.

When I was older and going out, my Dad would always say, "Remember who you are." Again, I didn't get it, of COURSE I'd remember who I was. But of course I understood it as I grew older.

My Dad was a huge boxing fan. He LOVED it. I hated it. But he would tease me about it, pretending that I did love it. I'd come downstairs and he'd say, "Oh good, Jan, you're just in time! The fight JUST STARTED." When I moved out of the house he would call and leave messages on my machine, "Jan, how can you be out when there's a FIGHT ON!".

He also used to think that the cheerleaders in televised sporting events were WAVING TO HIM, and he'd wave back.

If he farted, he'd ALWAYS blame it on someone else. My favorite memory of this was one night we were sitting in the livingroom and he was in his recliner, I was on the couch, and this SIX MONTH OLD baby was propped in her car seat on the floor next to my Dad. Dad let out a HUGE ONE, and then all startled, looks down at the baby and goes, "PLEASE!".

He also judged sibling farting contests. My older brothers always won. Except for that ONE FATEFUL NIGHT. We were staying at my Grandpa's, and all us kids were out in the livingroom in sleeping bags just killing the darkened room with our farts. I let out the last huge one that I had been saving for towards the end of the competition and both my brothers and my sister squealed, "OH MY GOD JAN", just as my Dad snapped on the light and barked at us to knock it off and go to sleep. And just as he snapped the light back off and turned to go back upstairs he said, "...and Jan clearly wins."

When I was 20, I was dating someone EIGHTEEN years older than me. My Dad NEVER said anything negative to me about it (although a year or so afterward he said he "prayed that guy the hell out of your life") When we broke up, I was quite upset and my Dad would joke around anytime we were out and about - every time he'd see a senior citizen he'd say, "Hey Jan, there's one for you. I'll bet he's collecting a PRETTY social security!"

My Dad helped me write my first resume, and to be funny, under "attributes" he put, "have pretty hair".

(Okay, crying now...must take a break...)


When he found out he had cancer, us girls were in the kitchen crying, and he was in the livingroom with my brother and he called out to us, "I'm not dead yet, can I get a sandwich?"

The day I introduced him to my husband, I told him NOT to say anything embarrassing. When I brought him to my Dad and he went to shake his hand he said, "Wow, Jan's right, you ARE handsome!"

I could write all day about what a funny, warm, and wonderful man my father was. As the years pass, I sometimes worry that I'm going to forget him, and I panic and scramble to think of as many things I can about him.

But when it's late at night, and I'm lost in my thoughts about him, I realize that the impact he made on my life in twenty-three very short years, will never ever go away.