Day 16: Something that you miss.
This one is easy. I miss my dad. My dad died on November 11, 1996. He had experienced some health episodes, but his death was unexpected. I miss him a lot. Here are some things about him that I miss the most:
- He was funny. He had a quick wit and a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. He passed that on to me, and I’m afraid that I have passed that along to my son. All of my friends thought he was funny. They would stop by and chat with him even if I wasn’t home. I worked at a pizza place all through high school and college. My co-workers would nearly throw punches as they argued about who got to take the delivery when Dad ordered. They still recall funny sayings and “dadisms” that were unique to him.
- He spoke in similes, metaphors and artistic exaggerations. He never stated things in matter-of-fact terms. He was never “a little warm today because of the humidity.” He was always “hot as a match” or “hot as a firecracker.”
- He loved bluegrass music. He played a decent rhythm guitar, but his gift was his classic bluegrass tenor voice. As a teenager, it was not unusual at all to come home from working the late shift at the pizza parlor on a Saturday night and find Mom and Dad and some of their music friends playing bluegrass music in my living room…or on the front porch, if weather permitted.
- He was a crier. Babies, sad stories, happy stories, Christmas gifts, Fathers’ Day gifts, the weather…you name it. Tug on his heart strings even just a little and get ready for the waterfalls.
- He was smart. He only completed the 8th grade, but don’t let that fool you. He liked to read…mostly westerns and the local paper. He read every word in that paper every single day. I would often find the paper on the kitchen table opened to a particular page with an article circled and my name written next to it. That meant that it made him mad, made him laugh, or validated a position that he had taken on some political issue. He knew a lot about history. He had a big vocabulary. He was somewhat skeptical of formal education. He was supportive of me getting a good education thanks to my brother who had blazed that trail ten years before me. He had no use for somebody who had “book smarts” but didn’t “have enough sense to come in out of the rain” or who couldn’t “find his rear end with both hands.”
- I attended college locally, and I commuted from my mom and dad’s house for my junior and senior years. I rushed down the stairs from my bedroom one morning eager to grab some breakfast and hit the road. I couldn’t help but notice that my dad was sitting at the table flipping through my college’s semester courses catalog. I asked why he was looking at it. He told me that he was looking to enroll me in a college class that would teach me how to tie up the bread bag when I was done and flip the light switch off when I left a room.
- He loved his family. He was a homebody. His favorite place on earth was at home with his family. I wish that he could have gotten to meet my kids. They would have surely stolen his heart, and they would have LOVED him. I wish I could have heard his dry, sarcastic (but completely in good fun) comments when I told him that I was going to be an elementary school principal. I wish he could see the house where I live. I wish he could “eat like he was going to the electric chair” at a summer family cookout at my place. I wish he could see his grandkids open presents at Christmastime.
I can just imagine him visiting my house on one of these frigid Ohio winter days. “Son, go turn that thermostat up a little…unless you’re fixin’ to hang a side of beef in the living room.”
In true Dad fashion, I was unable to get through today’s writing challenge without my own waterworks. But it was a good waterworks. Good memories for sure.