“The monsters are gone.””Really?” Doubtful.”I killed the monsters. That’s what fathers do.” 

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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4 Comments on ““The monsters are gone.””Really?” Doubtful.”I killed the monsters. That’s what fathers do.” ”

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    The sun is out and the forecasted high temperature will only reach a cool high of 94°.

    Both of my kids are gone this year. My daughter is at one of the local lakes with her best friend. Her friend’s parents have a summer house at the lake and invited my daughter for the weekend. My son, who says I ruined his life, has moved to Chicago to look for a job and an apartment. I get his latest adventures through my wife. I have no idea how I ruined his life.

    My father was not the best dad, but he did provide us with enough money. My best memory of a Father’s Day that we spent together was June 24, 1964. We went to Shea Stadium to see the New York Mets play the Philadelphia Phillies. Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the Mets. He was at the time the only pitcher to pitch a no hitter in both leagues. My father said it was a boring game. He had no appreciation for history.


    So far I’m enjoying this Father’s Day because it’s been quiet and I’m relaxing at home. My spouse surprised me this morning by bringing in donuts for breakfast and then getting Chinese food for lunch. What could be better?

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      It never got out of the 60’s today though we did have sun for most of the afternoon. It is now in the low 60’s, comfortable weather.

      I knew your daughter was not at home, but I didn’t know your son had moved. I suspect fathers always ruin their sons’ lives. I think my brother said the same thing to my father. I hope he is lucky and finds a job.

      Wow!! How amazing to see a perfect game!! When I was a kid, I was happy just to see the Sox win. A lot of fans think games where there isn’t much scoring are boring games. My father would have thought the same.

      It sounds like you had the perfect fathers day!!

      Happy Father’s Day.

  2. Birgit Says:

    I’m glad that celebrating Father’s Day wasn’t really common here when I was young, some people just shouldn’t be celebrated. Meanwhile Father’s Day means that groups of drunken men enjoy themselves on the streets one day in May, it’s more a menace than a feast. Btw, is there any country that celebrates kids? Nevertheless I like read your stories about your loving parents and I’m glad to hear about every happy kid.
    Mid-June and it’s about one month without rain now, still sunny and hot and everything is dry while our politicians fight how fast we can build new car-only highways and how to prevent reasonable climate protection. Just the usual destructive crazyness.
    Happy Father’s Day! I would love to celebrate reasonable people, men or women or whatever, caring people. It looks like your parents were part of these people.

    • katry Says:

      Father’s Day is a celebration here, no drunken men on the streets. There are usually barbecues. Most children of all ages return home to celebrate their fathers. I always did too.

      My parents would have told you that kids’ day is every day. That was the answer they’d give me if I asked.

      We had two straight days of rain. My sister in Colorado had a week of it. Everything is such a luscious green the way it is every June.

      Climate is a button issue here as well. The republicans deny that changes in climate have been brought about by men. They fight against any bills meant to face and amend the problems.

      My parents were good people. I am forever thankful for them.

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