Yesterday was Father’s Day. Even after 3 years it is very strange for me to be father-less on Father’s Day. I know many people spend Father’s Day without their Father. My own husband hasn't seen his Father on father's day in over 20 years. However, my entire life my Father was very accessible to me every day, including Father’s Day. As a matter of fact until Father’s day 2008, just 1 day shy of the one month after my dad’s death, I had never spent a Father’s Day away from him. I was very blessed.
I can’t say that I have one vivid first memory. I know lots of people do. I have lots of fuzzy memories from the first 5 or 6 years of my life but not any one that really stands out as “MY FIRST MEMORY.” All of the fuzzy memories I do have involve my father in one way or another. Baking Christmas cookies, carving pumpkins, blowing out birthday candles, building snowmen.....always with my dad.
My dad was not a large man but he was larger than life. He always seemed very big. Teen boys were intimidated by him, but for the most part my girlfriends loved him, as did all of my cousins. Uncle Rick was a favorite. He was the uncle who would get on the floor and play with the babies and wrestle with the boys. My dad swears he was 5’ 10”. Maybe at one point he was but I think he was closer to 5’9” during my adult life. He wasn’t heavy but probably varied from his summer (mowing the yard, working on household projects) weight and his winter (Chiefs games, bbq and beer drinking) weight. He always did have the best calves in Greystone.
My dad was a very wise man. Over the years he was called Reverend Rick by our friends in Iowa who sometimes tapped him to lead us in spiritual reflection on our many camping weekends when we couldn’t make it to Mass. He was known as The Sage by many of our Kansas City friends who were privy to his wise words on many occasions. Since my father died I often find myself saying “My dad always said.....” in response to any number of subjects. I think that it is my duty to share this wisdom with the world.
"If Wal-mart doesn't have it, you don't need it." My dad was always try to impart to us the difference between wants and needs. To him, Guess jeans were NOT a need. Of course this was many years ago and now Wal-mart carries everything from real gold jewelry to 50" flat screen tvs but I think the sentiment still rings true.
"The Plaza lights come on every night for the next two months." This goes along with many other examples of "if your friends jumped, would you?" I remember in High School wanting so much to go the the Thanksgiving night Plaza lighting ceremony. Anyone from Kansas City knows this is total chaos, tons of traffic, usually very cold, no where to park, huge crowds and all there is to do is really stand around and wait for them to turn on the lights, none of the shops are open. Of course, I wanted to be in the middle of it with all my friends and my dad wanted me home with family (and to not be driving in that traffic!) So every year he pointed out that every night from Thanksgiving until the middle of January, they would be turning those lights on again and again. In my middle age, I have to say he was right.
"Spending a dollar to save 33 cents is dumb." My dad was very wary of spending money just for the tax break. I remember one time talking with him about paying off houses and my take was you should always have a mortgage because you need the interest for a tax write off. He just shook his head and said "Laurie, spending a dollar to save 33 cents......does that make sense to you???" Of course, he is right.
Some of my other favorites...
"I can get her a great deal on a Cadillac, doesn't mean she can afford it."
"It's only worth what you can get someone to pay you for it."
"Never buy the extended warranty, its a sucker's bet."
"The Democrat's sleeping on the porch."
I hope all of you with Dads available spend lots of time with them, give them lots of hugs and tell them everyday how much you love them. When they are gone, no matter how long away that is, it will be too soon.