Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Am My Father's Daughter

Today is Father's 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 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, 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?


Lisa said...

Oh! Uncle Jim

This is Beautiful!

I think the last picture is my favorite...I remember when your dad took Margaret and I out on the sale boat....We had so much fun...

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,

This post made me smile, made me cry, and makes me appreciate even more how lucky I am that my parents are still alive today.

Thanks for sharing XXOO,


Anonymous said...

Oh This is Beautiful! Thank you so much Anne. Between you, my sister and Jen's blog I've been in tears today...

For the Love of Our Fathers - what wonderful men! We've both (all) been so blessed.

Think I'll eat some ice cream now with some type of chocolate melting all over it. Yeah. That'll make the world a happy place again. Big hugs and lots of love, Marg.

The Amazing Trips said...

SOB!! This was so beautiful.

I loved your Dad, Anne Marie. I'll never forget coming to your house in Framingham - and walking along the plastic lined rug protective runners in the hallways (!)- and having SO much fun. Whenever I catch the smell of a fire, I am almost instantly reminded of spending time with your parents in the downstairs level of your house. Whenever I see a plastic toy lawnmower, I am instantly reminded of your Dad, who bought me my very first one, so I could "cut" the grass, alongside him.

I love the memories that you recorded here. Especially the convertible! I had no idea either of you were so spontaneous. What a wonderful man. You were so lucky to have him.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the Birthday wishes Ann

Gee, I think between you, me, Margaret and Jen our posts have made us all a big pile of warm jello mush today......WE NEED Chocolate!!


Anonymous said...

Annie, what an awesome tribute to your Dad. He would be so proud of you and all your accomplishments. He was and always will be one of the greatest Dads I have known. Donna

Anonymous said...

Annie,what a beautiful tribute to your Dad. He would be so proud of you and all your accomplishments. I always enjoyed the times I spent with him. He was the best! Love Donna

The Amazing Trips said...

OMG. I just read your profile. You have a Honda Shadow?? Isn't that a MOTORCYCLE?! You drive a motorcycle and you love to boat?!

I'm laughing SO hard.

Oh Aunt Carolyn!! What would she say?! Please tell me you have a leather jacket and chaps!!


Aunt Grace said...

I am still looking for my coment on Jim and his white buck shoes. He was a dapper dresser, but how about that doll house with the real electric lights. Just because you send me cookies, it doesn't mean you can't post my thoughts

Susan said...

Such a wonderful post to read, Anne. Thank you.

I smiled and I cried. I am such a Daddy's girl. I hope my Dad knows how much I love him. I do tell him, but I will just have to tell him more, and hug him more too.


One of many cuzzins! said...

I've been working all week and just catching up on "the blogs".

What a beautiful memoir of Uncle Jim. He was such a good guy. I always adored him. He was my favorite Uncle and that is why I asked him to do a Reading at my wedding.

I remember staying over your house during a school vacation week. Your mother dropped Kathy and I off at Shoppers World and we ventured over to visit your father at his work at the Telephone Co. We were about 10 years old and weren't supposed to be there. A guy going into the building asked us what we were doing and I said "visiting my Uncle Louie". Well, somehow word got to your Dad that 2 girls were outside looking for Uncle Louie. I don't remember if we actually went into the building but he never let me forget that I called him Uncle Louie. Nor did your mother. When I was "incarcerated" in upstate NY she'd send me cards with $2 tucked inside and signed it - Love, Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Louie. It was our little inside joke. The memory still brings a smile to my face.

This was such a nice way to pay tribute to my Uncle Louie. I miss him. I wish he was still here to enjoy his grandchildren, not to mention some fabulous cakes.


Joycee said...

OMG this is one of the best written tributes to a Dad I've ever read. Your blog is more, more than marshmallow fluff and that's where I started. You are so added to my favorites! Come visit grannymountain when you have time...
joy c.