“She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father.”

This is my annual Father’s Day post. Many of you read it every year. It is about my amazing father, my funny and loving father. It brings back a rush of memories every time I read it. It makes me smile and long for my father. He was one of a kind in the best of all possible ways. This morning, as soon as I woke up, I wished him a Happy Father’s Day.

In my front garden are a couple of ground cover plants. They have been there for years. My father planted them for me. One weekend he and my mother came down to visit. My dad brought his lawn mower, a hand mower, garden tools and those few plants. While my mother and I shopped, my dad mowed the lawn in the front and the back. Both yards were fields no longer. He weeded the garden. I could see the flowers. The garden was lovely. I get to remember that weekend every time I go out the front gate and see my father’s plants. They touch my heart.

I have so many memories of growing up, of family trips and my dad trying to whack at us from the front seat and never succeeding, of playing whist in the kitchen, with the teams being 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. When I close my eyes, I see him so clearly.

On a warm day he’d be sitting on the front steps with his coffee cup beside him while 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, including aunts and uncles, crowding around 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 always said he never snacked, and my mother would roll her eyes. He kept chocolate under the couch, hidden from everyone else, but, we, everyone else, knew. He loved Pilot Crackers covered with butter. Hydrox was his preferred cookie. His vanilla ice cream was always doused with Hershey’s syrup. That man did love his chocolate.

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. I still miss my father every day. 

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6 Comments on ““She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    I look forward to our heartfelt and loving memories of your Father. Last night the Prince stayed with us. He is almost 16 and towers over me. We went to services, and then settled in to an evening with James Bond. We don’t see him so much these days but his presence brings joy and laughter to the house, I was very pleased to become not only a Father but a Pumpa.

    Time is fleeting and often the Father leaves with a series of negative memories. It’s sad and that relationship may be compartmentalized or otherwise abandoned.

    We strive as Dads to do well. It’s our privilege to have that responsibility and the reward to becoming a Grandparent

  2. katry Says:

    My Dear Hedley,
    I’m glad to hear of the Prince and his wonderful visit. I was going to ask. It has been a while. He and my grandnephew are just about the same age. My sister laments the very little time she spends with Ryder compared to the time with her other grandchildren, the oldest of the five remaining is 10 so they don’t have as much going on as Ryder does.

    I have always believed my father did his best as he saw it. He’d react then think about it then rethink the whole thing. I learned patience when waiting for him. I also learned to make a mean Manhattan!

    My father left us far too soon.

  3. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    This father day was similar to any other Sunday. My better half and I went out for breakfast and returned home before the afternoon heat got going full blast. We’re looking at a high temperature of 97°. It’s too hot to even jump into the pool. 🙁

    This weekend is also Juneteenth. President Biden made Juneteenth a national Holiday last year. Juneteenth was the day when northern soldiers arrived in Galveston Texas and told the slaves that they were free since the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier. Yesterday, Dr. Opal Lee lead the Freedom march to Downtown Ft. Worth. She is considered the Grandmother of Juneteenth.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opal_Lee

    To all the dads on Coffee, have a wonderful Father’s Day. Even though it’s a made up holiday. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      We are chilly this afternoon, down to 61˚ and damp from an early rain. It has been a sweatshirt day. The next few days will be in the low 70’s and sound perfect.

      It had been a holiday in Massachusetts before it became a national holiday. It had been a holiday in several other states as well.

      I checked made-up holidays and came up with many including July 4th which is not the day the US gained independence. That did not occur until Britain had lost the war. July 4th is just the date some of the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. There is no Presidents’ Day! The holiday enacted by congress in 1789 is Washington’s Birthday February 22, changed in 1971 to the 3rd Monday in February. The date for Thanksgiving was arbitrary, chosen by Lincoln then changed by FDR. There are more but you get the idea.

      That is one impressive woman, amazing all she accomplished.

      Happy Father’s Day to you!!

      • Bob Says:

        Thanks Kat, I can always count on you to look up things like made up holidays, when I bring up topics like, “Hallmark Holidays”. 🙂 Notice, that I omitted the word “Hallmark” this year. 🙂 I appreciate your scholarship and use of Google.

      • katry Says:

        I was curious as to how many holidays were actually made up. I was surprised by how many dates are arbitrary, some days or dates chosen for no reasons. It seems if you came up with the holiday you chose the date for many of these.


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