A Glimpse Into The Past and Father’s Day

As you must know by now, my Dad is my best friend. He’s been the glue that keeps things moving smoothly, the comic relief, and the man who helped me raise my kids when their own father couldn’t be bothered to even write or call.

Dad and I haven’t always been close. That wasn’t his choice, nor mine. I know people get sick of the blame always being placed upon the mother, but in this case it was definitely my mother’s fault.

When I was a little girl, my mother pretty much had me scared to death of my Dad. She would comment things like, “Don’t let your Dad hear you say that,” or “Better clean up that mess before your Dad gets home.” She always ended those warnings with remarks about being spanked or sent to my room. I don’t recall my bedroom ever being messy. I remember Dad sometimes working overtime and not being home for dinner. In order to get me to finish everything on my plate, Mom would warn me of the consequences if I didn’t finish by the time Dad came home. Often she gave me portions that I’m positive were too big for my little tummy. I was a scared little girl.

When I was a little older, Mom kept me in line much the same way. She always made Dad out to be the bad guy. One time I was 5 minutes late from walking home from school and she told me how lucky I was that Dad wasn’t home! I remember running home from school many times after that to avoid the wrath of my father. Of course, Dad was never the authoritarian meany-head Mom made him out to be.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I wanted to start shaving my legs and Mom showed me how but told me, “Just don’t tell your Dad. He’ll be mad as hell.” And when I started wearing makeup, I sneaked it because I knew what she would say. I would buy a little makeup with my babysitting money and put it on when I got to the bus stop in the mornings, and took it off on the bus on the way home from school.

I could go on with more examples but you get the idea. There was a lot of manipulation going on.

Dad and I became closer as I entered adulthood. Somehow, Mom knew then that she couldn’t do what she had always done. She had lost her control. Once she left us (her family) behind and left the state, things began to change. I don’t know how anyone could be afraid of my Dad. I don’t know how I could have ever been so afraid of him. It just goes to show you how impressionable small children are. Dad was never anything but fun and funny – if you can visualize a 6-foot tall man riding a tricycle, then you’ll get a good idea of what I mean.

Dad is much older now, 83 and counting. He’s been a great Dad even when Mom made him out to be strict and mean. He’s been there for me when shit has hit the fan full force, and has been there for my kids as they were growing up. I don’t know what I would have done without him.

For Father’s Day this year, I collected funds from my children, my sisters, I threw in my share, and purchased a pole chain saw for Dad. I had extra funds so I also added a battery and charger for the pole saw. He won’t use a regular chain saw anymore. He’s wise enough to know that it would be dangerous for an 83 year old man who sometimes loses his balance to use one. A pole saw is a bit safer since a stumble would result in the saw part landing further away from him. He just needs to remove some tall bushy limbs off some shrubs and trees around the house. Nothing real major. I will keep an eye on him like I always do.

To end the day, my son, his wife and little boy came to visit. They brought wine. Dad loves wine. The Hudster (my grandson) warmed up to us quite nicely. He doesn’t see us often so prior to this visit, he was a bit leery of us. Dad and I both got hugs and The Hudster was playful and silly. I enjoyed the visit as much as Dad did. Dad loves playing with little kids, always has. I hope he has many years left to play!

Take care of your fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all the father figures in your life. They have shaped the person you’ve become. You won’t have them forever. Treasure the stories and the memories. Happy Father’s Day, to all the great fathers out there and especially to my Dad – the BEST FRIEND and FATHER a daughter could ever have!

Dad, as a young man fresh out of high school. Age 18.
Dad and baby me… He was making me laugh way back then!
Dad, 2020, age 83.

The Ex-Files – Father’s Day Brunch

When my daughter started Kindergarten, I was thrilled because she was lucky enough to have been placed in the class with the best teacher she could have had. Her name was Mrs. Hummel if I remember correctly. She was fantastic! She showed a genuine love for the kids and made every day a day full of fun and a lot of learning! SR was excited to go to school every single day!

In May that year, Mrs. Hummel arranged a fabulous Mother’s Day Tea Party and all the kids made special invitations for their moms. SR was so excited about it, that’s all she could talk about. All the kids made their moms paper mache wide-brimmed hats with pretty pink paper and artificial flowers adorned each one. We had tea and cake and the kids sang songs and gave their moms special cards for Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful day of appreciation. I still have that pink, wide-brimmed hat, too! I packed it carefully in a big box and had it shipped to Missouri when we left California.

In June, the kids (with the help of that wonderful Mrs. Hummel) planned a Father’s Day Brunch for all their fathers. I knew what was going to happen however and didn’t look forward to the event, not one little bit. The kids decorated ball caps with fabric paint. Honestly, I don’t recall much about that day except that it did not turn out as it should have.

SR was excited for her “Pop” to come to her classroom for the Father’s Day Brunch. I had made sure to tell CP about it and marked it on the calendar. Of course, he said, “I may not be able to get off work.” And I told him, “That’s why I’m telling your 3 weeks in advance. That way you can request the day off. SR is so excited about it and you need to make sure you go.” He said he would try and then went off to work. Every 4 days or so, I reminded CP about the Father’s Day Brunch. He ignored me as if I was annoying him or nagging him. It was important but he didn’t give a shit, obviously.

CP never said anything about getting the day off. I stopped mentioning it because I knew no matter what he wasn’t going to show up. The morning of the brunch, SR was jumping up and down and just couldn’t contain her excitement. I felt awful for her. I walked her to school and pulled Mrs. Hummel to the side and told her that if SR’s father didn’t show up, and if SR wanted to, to please have her call me and I would come to fill in. I didn’t want her to feel bad and be the only one there without someone. Just as I expected, I got a phone call and I headed off to the school.

I was so angry and hurt for my daughter that day. She didn’t seem to mind that it was mom and not Pop there that day. But I minded. He should have at least tried. After all that, my daughter still wanted her Pop to have the ball cap she made for him.

I was so angry, I didn’t speak to him for days, but I doubt he even noticed. What kind of a loser lets his child down like that? A rat bastard, that’s the kind.

Father’s Day Is Every Day

My father has been my friend for almost as long as he has been my Dad. Does that sound silly?

When I was a little girl, I looked up to my Dad, as most all little girls do. But as I was growing up, my mother had me to believe that my dad was just awful. (She shouldn’t have ever talked bad about my Dad in front of me or my sisters.) She was very vocal. She had to let me know that my dad was a “know-it-all-son-of-a-bitch” and there were so many times she would tell me something secret or private and would instruct me NOT to tell Dad. (Like when she spent the $800 for rent on a new VCR.) When I first started shaving my legs, at around age 11, she told me NOT to tell Dad because he would get mad. There were many things like that, which were part of a young girl growing up that I was instructed NOT to tell Dad because he would get mad. 

When I hit high school and started thinking for myself, I realized that my Dad was a good guy. He wasn’t the asshole my mother made him out to be. He was kind and he had feelings. The first time I ever saw my Dad cry was at his baby sister’s funeral. It broke my heart. Dad was always good to us girls, and to my mother as well. There were times, he told me when I was grown, that he wanted to smack my mother upside the head, but he never did it. Why? Because he’s a genuinely good man. He would never hit a woman.

Dad made us laugh all the time. I remember when my sisters were little Dad would go outside and ride their tricycles. It was so funny to watch because he had such long legs and it had to have been difficult to ride a tricycle like that!

Dad helped us with our homework, because mom didn’t have more than an 8th grade education and if she tried to help us, she would just get mad at US because we knew “that’s not how you do it.” Anyway, Dad helped me…or rather DID my high school government paper I had to write on the Nuclear Arms Race. I was given a B on that paper and I remember being angry because Dad should have got an A on it!

Fast forward to my own kids being little and my Dad being a better Dad to them than their own father was. When it came time for me to leave, Dad helped me get my kids away from their father to start over. Dad continued to help, by being the best father figure to my kids as he could possibly be. My kids are grown and have lives of their own, away from us but my Dad continues to be here for them and for me. He is now 80 years old and has been my best friend for the past 30+ years!

So, as far as I’m concerned, EVERY STINKIN’ DAY is Father’s Day!