A Daughter's Memories on Father's Day
June 2011

My Dad passed away on Christmas Day 9 years ago. It was sad of course, because he was gone. But it brought some peace too, because he had battled Parkinson's disease for 4 ½ years, and as my step-brother said, “Christmas was Dad's favorite holiday, and he was going home.” I was crazy about my Dad when I was little. I wanted to do everything with him. I had a little recliner chair right next to Dad's chair, so it was like Papa Bear and Baby Bear. My Dad often worked six days a week, so on Sunday mornings, crawling into bed with him to read Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood (the big, bad wolf scared me), and other nursery rhymes was quite a treat. I loved the way he smelled, and to this day, if I walk by someone wearing Old Spice, it reminds me of my Dad. When we talk about boys having an “oedipus complex” for their Moms, (wanting Dad out of the picture, so they can have Mom all to themselves), well I certainly had an “electra complex” (wanting Mom out of the picture, so I could have Dad all to myself).

Dad's are there for us in their own way. Their actions often speak louder than words. Although my Dad and I didn't have heart to heart conversations, I always knew he loved me. Saying “loves ya big” was his way of expressing affection. I remember my Dad bringing me a pink baby rose bush when I was little and sick with the german measles. I thought I was going to die. We planted that rose bush in the yard, and it is still there to this day. One of my fondest childhood memories is my Dad and I in the ocean at the Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk. The surf is mild at this beach and it's a good place to frolic in the water and body surf. Dad and I would stand side by side, and when a wave approached, Dad would say “jump, jump”, and he would lift me up so I could be on top of the wave. I loved this time with my Dad. The Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk has always been a special place for me, and I always enjoy going back there.

It's been said that women need to feel loved, and men need to feel appreciated. Actually I think both are equally important, but let's stick with appreciation for the moment.

I appreciate the fact that my Dad chose a career he loved. He was a grocer. He managed his own grocery store for over thirty years. He literally watched customer's kids grow up over the course of his career. I enjoy walking into an independently owned grocery store, especially if it's in a neighborhood close by, where I get to know the people working there. I appreciate the fact that Dad got along with all his siblings, and made the effort to stay in touch with them. My Dad loved family gatherings with his 6 brothers and sisters and his motto was, “work hard and play hard.”

My Dad was a good man. He loved to tell jokes, and he always welcomed family and friends to our household. He taught me how to shake hands. Fully extend your hand, use a firm grip, and look the person you're greeting directly in the eyes. No limp wristed hand shakes, no bone crushers, and no just clutching the finger tips. I appreciate my Dad for being a man of his word. If Dad shook someone's hand and agreed to do something, I knew he would follow through with it.

So, here's to you Dad. Thank you for taking care of me when I was sick, and thank you for teaching me how to swim in the ocean. “Loves ya big.”

For those of you whose Dads are still with you, remember on Father's Day to say to him “loves ya big” (or however you prefer to convey it.)