“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

This is my annual Father’s Day post. It brings back a rush of memories every time I read it. My dad was one of a kind in the best of all possible ways.

I have so many memories of growing up, of family trips and my dad trying to whack at us from the front and never succeeding, of playing whist in the kitchen, my mom and me against my dad and brother, of Sunday rides, of going to the drive-in and the beach and of being loved by my dad. Memories of my dad are with me always, but today my memories are all of my dad, and my heart is filled to the brim with missing him, but when I close my eyes, I see him so clearly.

It’s a warm day so he’d be sitting on the front steps with his coffee cup reading the paper. He’d have on a white t-shirt and maybe his blue shorts. He’d wave at the neighbors going by in their cars. They all knew him and would honk back. He loved being retired, and we were glad he had a few years of just enjoying life.

He was the funniest guy, mostly on purpose but lots of times by happenstance. We used to have Dad stories, all those times when we roared and he had no idea why. He used to laugh along with us and ask, “What did I say? What did I say?” We were usually laughing too hard to tell him. He was a good sport about it.

I know you’ve heard this before, but it is one of my favorite Dad stories. He, my mom and I were in Portugal. I was driving. My dad was beside me. On the road, we had passed many piggyback tandem trucks, all hauling several truck loads behind them. On the back of the last truck was always the sign Vehiculo Longo. We came out of a gas station behind one of those. My father nonchalantly noted, “That guy Longo owns a lot of trucks.” I was laughing so hard I could barely drive and my mother, in the back seat, was doubled over in laughter.

My father wasn’t at all handy around the house. Putting up outside lights once, he gave himself a shock which knocked him off his step-ladder. He once sawed himself out of a tree by sitting on the wrong end of the limb. The bookcase he built in the cellar had two shelves, one on the floor and the other too high to use. He said it was lack of wood. When painting the house once, the ladder started to slide, but he stayed on his rung anyway with brush in hand. The stroke of the paint on the house followed the path of his fall. Lots of times he set his shoe or pant leg on fire when he was barbecuing. He was a big believer in lots of charcoal lighter fluid.

My father loved games, mostly cards. We played cribbage all the time, and I loved making fun of  his loses, especially if I skunked him. When he won, it was superb playing. When I won, it was luck. I remember so many nights of all of us crowded the kitchen table playing cards, especially hi-lo jack. He loved to win and we loved lording it over him when he lost.

My father was a most successful businessman. He was hired to turn a company around and he did. He was personable and funny and remembered everyone’s names. Nobody turned him down.

My father always went out Sunday mornings for the paper and for donuts. He never remembered what kind of donut I like. His favorite was plain. He’d make Sunday breakfast when I visited: bacon, eggs and toast. I can still see him standing over the stove with a dish towel over his shoulders. He always put me in charge of the toast.

If I ever needed anything, I knew I could call my father. He was generous. When we went out to eat, he always wanted to pay and was indignant when we one upped him by setting it up ahead of time that one of us paid. One Christmas he gave us all $500.00, not as a gift but to buy gifts.

My father left us when he was far too young. It was sudden. He had a heart attack. I had spoken with him just the day before. It was pouring that day, and I told him how my dog Shauna was soaked. He loved that dog and told me to wipe his baby off. I still remember that whole conversation.

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11 Comments on ““It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.””

  1. peterrocker Says:

    Miss Kat,
    I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again.
    I really like your father so much.
    I bet he is proud of all his children.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Pete

      You would have enjoyed him. My dad had a great sense of humor and was a lot of fun. I believe he was proud of us.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I’ve said it about Your mother and I’ll say it about Your father, he sounds wonderful 🙂

    No fathers day over here until late autumn.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Father’ Day is all over the calendar in the different countries.

      Thanks about my Dad!

      Have a great evening!1

  3. Bob Says:

    Although we all know that father’s day was created by the Hallmark people to sell cards, it’s still nice to have a day to celebrate fathers. My kids bought me a new digital camera and we had a father’s day brunch of lox and bagels with cream cheese.

    I wish I had as many good memories of my dad as you do of yours. My father always told us that the only reason he had children was to fulfill my mother’s desire to be a mom. After she passed away in 1961 he shipped my sister and I off to New York to live with our aunt and uncle. He then visited us for a day or two every couple of months when it was convenient for him to travel to New York. When I graduated from High School I attended college in Texas close to my dad so that I could be closer to my source of income. My father always thought that he showed us his love by writing us a check.

    My father became a widower at the beginning of the sexual revolution and the discovery of the birth control pill. He spent the rest of his life seeing how many different woman he could bed. The only thing that slowed him down was that there were no pills for erectile disfunction. Had he lived long enough he would have been the first person in line to get an Rx for Viagra 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Considering how many countries celebrate Father’s Day I doubt it was a Hallmark creation. I know it was started so mothers wouldn’t be the only ones recognized with a special day.The day was initiated in 1910. I doubt Hallmark was huge back that far.

      I’m sorry you don’t have great memories of your dad. Maybe he figured he couldn’t raise you right so he sent you to your aunt and uncle.

      Some people don’t know how to show love and affection.

      I have always considered myself lucky with the parents I had.

      • Bob Says:

        I honestly think that he shipped us off because he traveled during the week and didn’t think that he could find a nanny that would raise us a well or as cheaply as my aunt and uncle. Also, he didn’t want to bring woman home on the weekends to spend the night when my sister was younger. May father’s two main drivers in his life were money and sex.

        In my next life I plan on choosing wealthy parents 🙂 Large amounts of money can make up for a lot other crap.

      • katry Says:

        You’re right about money making up for crap, but it works only a bit.

        I understand why he sent you to your relatives. You couldn’t be left alone.

        I had friends with crabby fathers. I always felt bad for them.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Happy Father’s Day memories. 🙂
    Whacking from the front seat. Check.
    Cribbage skill vs cribbage luck. Check.
    Sunday rides which generally involved whacking from the front seat. Check.
    Dad stories. Check except that our stories are about the stories he told. Being overly blessed with Blarney, he had a million of them. There were the funny stories from the war which we called McHales Navy stories. My dad was in the army but funny war stories are pretty much the same regardless of service. He didn’t live long enough to be able to tell us the not funny stories though I did hear a bit of one.
    Our favorite stories were the ones he would make up as he was running old, silent movies on his projector. The best one was SOS Iceberg, where he convinced us all that the two heroes and the dog were himself, his brother and our dog Duke. The heroine was my mother. We didn’t buy that last one. My mother didn’t go in for any adventure that didn’t have mod cons. 🙂
    He died at 56. Far too young. I’m sad that he never got to know his grandchildren and that we never got to know him as adults but I’m happy that I have good memories.
    Enjoy the day.

  5. I’m sorry for your loss and charmed by your memories. Thanks for the post.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Molly B and Me,

      Sorry for the delay in answering but I just got home from the hospital. W have what what we call Dad stories and we all have them tucked away so we can bring them out when we’re together. They never fail to get us laughing! My dad passed away too young!!

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