Today is Father's Day.....so instead of highlighting the cakes that I made in honor of the occasion, I'd like to give you a peek at the man behind the blue eyes .....the man I once called "Dad".
I inherited his sense of humor. Some times he told the same corny jokes over and over...most of the time just to see me roll my eyes and say, "Da-a-a-a-ad".
When we were kids, one of his favorite sayings was "Cheese and Crackers" in lieu of swearing and using something equally profane. We always knew he really wanted to let one rip.....but he never did. At least not in front of us.
He loved to go out to eat. LOVED IT. Didn't matter where it was, he just loved the experience of dining someplace other than home.
He was always on time. Never late for anything. Ever. You could set your clock by him.
He was adventurous. For me, the highlight of our Thanksgiving trip to Disney World in 1999, was sitting next to my dad on the Tower of Terror and Space Mountain. At the time, he was 71 years old but out-yelled everyone else on the ride and he loved every minute of it.
He was spontaneous....but then again...so am I. I had owned several boats, each one a little larger than the one before. There was the 18 footer, then the 20 footer.....and then there was "the" boat. He found it. I loved it. It was a big boat, so we both signed for it. All 26 feet of it.
Although he loved it, he never drove it. He left that entirely up to me. As we were pulling out of the Marina one day, headed for Boston Harbor, he grinned and said, "I can't believe this"...."I've always wanted to do this....and here we are.....we're on our boat....we're really doing it......I can't believe it".
...and then there was that late summer day in 1996 when we drove past a used car lot on Cape Cod. We both saw the little maroon Mercedes-Benz convertible at the same time. My dad started grinning even as he was turning the car around to go back for a closer look. He got the keys from the salesman and we both jumped in for a quick test drive around the Hyannis rotary. It was a cranberry-red 1973 350SL two-seater convertible with 96,000 miles on it. Not bad for being 23 years old. We were only in the car about 30 seconds and as my dad smoothly shifted into third gear, he gave me a sidelong glance and said, "What do you think?" I grinned and said, "What do I think?..... Are you crazy?.....It's awesome.....just get it!" . That was all he needed to hear. We drove back to the lot, he left a deposit and we returned the next day to pick up the car. My dad smiled ear to ear all the way home.
When she heard the news, my practical sister Kathy was horrified. "Didn't you have the car checked out by a mechanic?", "Do you know what the Blue Book value is?", "How do you know it's not going to break down tomorrow?". My dad was too star-struck to listen to her concerns, besides.....he had me. I always backed up any and all of his impulsive decisions. Like the Healthrider....and his contact lenses. Let's not talk about that one. We encouraged each other....not a good thing all of the time. You see, my father had one daughter who was and still is extremely practical, consistent, excellent with money,...in short, rarely colors outside the lines. Then there's the daughter who has always taken the road less traveled. She is spontaneous, compulsive, owns way too many shoes and colors outside the lines ALL THE TIME. He had the best of both worlds. Now....guess which one I am??
I love this shot. It was taken on the steps of my house when I lived on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. My father came to visit for a long weekend and fell in love with the island. It was only two streets away from the beach and you could smell the salty air from every room in the house. (Sigh) I loved it there.
And then, Cameron came along. Cam is Kathy's oldest and the only grandchild that was lucky enough to meet my father. The world came to a screeching halt when Cameron was around. All he had to do was point to something and my father got it for him.
Although he wasn't the best at recalling a name, he remembered everyone he'd ever met. He was always there to pick me up and dust me off...and he did it unconditionally...too many times to count. We lost him suddenly to a stroke in February 2001 and there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of him. And miss him. And wish that I could just sit down and have another cup of coffee with him.
Just one more cup.
Maybe with a piece of cake.
So tell me.......did you hug your Dad today?