As Father’s Day comes up in a few days, I am remembering my Dad, gone now for 17 years, which I find almost unreal, because memories of him are more like yesterday! Dad was my hero throughout my life, however, every now and then he would show his imperfections and become merely human for a moment – like when one of us crossed his path between his easy chair and a football game on the television set. Then he was crochety and focused on that line of site that we momentarily interrupted. We grew accustomed to crawling on the floor to get to our destination.
But more often than not, he was all-knowing, all-being – protecting me from any danger. He was my major influence to becoming an independent thinking woman, at the cusp of women finding their own path – in 1969. He always said I could be anything, do anything, I wanted and succeed.
There are so many things I am grateful for and thankful for, that my Dad was responsible for:
Thank you, Dad:
• For letting me dance, my feet on yours, clear until I was 16;
• Your invention of home made toys – like the sling shots we each had made out of old tires;
• The swing you made in a tree out back for my two sons to enjoy. I have a series of pictures, frame by frame of them going up, up, up, leaning back, side-by-side, and laughing out loud with huge glee;
• The infamous “short cuts” on our many Sunday drives, one time driving up a little tiny one-lane cliff side dirt road, for miles and miles, only to have to BACK DOWN for what seemed like eternity;
• Routinely making Sunday breakfast;
• The time it snowed so deep that you made an igloo for us that lasted for two whole months!
• The same year, you made the fantastic toboggan run behind our house that was so sleek and fast that it would propel our six-man toboggan down and around the barn, and whoosh back up to the top – we only had to walk it over to the starting point and do it all again.
• Making up the rule not to sing at the kitchen table or the window would fall on our heads. (Says something about how happy we were that you would have to make up a rule to keep us from singing at the kitchen table!)
• Making up the Quiet Game (again at the kitchen table) where the game was lost at the first peep from a child, so we would spend delicious minutes making faces and sticking out our tongues at hapless siblings until one would burst out laughing. It only would last maybe five minutes before one of us would cave.
• Coming up with titles for the book you never wrote. Naming the cats after events like Sir Odd Leigh Waffled (the result of making waffles that were, well, odd) and Precious Horace D, or PhD, the only doctor in the family.
• The time we were camping at Priest Lake and our beach ball got away from us in the cool morning hours and you rushed in after it in your underwear – boxer shorts! How totally embarrassing to a 13-year old daughter when you came back with the beach ball, shorts plastered to your skin, and an audience of all the campers in the area. Clapping.
• Campfire breakfasts that included bugs on the eggs, that you explained away as just a little ash from the fire, or at the very least, added protein.
• Taking me to the store after my divorce and helping me write my first check; supporting me so much, encouraging me to believe in myself, cheering me on in my role as a single mother;
• Being the father figure for my sons and leading by example so they grew into really wonderful men;
You are the reason I am who I am today – smart, caring, independent, fair, and compassionate. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! You are the father that others should follow.
Dedicated to Don Rice, retired Chronicle Editor and Reporter