3.17.2008

Memories of Dad

This past weekend I chanced upon an article about a Dad/Daughter Dance. And the memories of my Dad whooshed in on me.

I have learned over time that a lot of daughters do not have the wonderful heroic image of their father as I do. It is very sad to me to realize not all daughters are the apple of their father’s eyes.
My Dad was my hero and my Prince Charming. He was the root of my self-esteem – he always said I could do anything, be anything I wanted. When I was a young adult he said, on my dating, you can BE an attorney, a doctor, a teacher, a leader – you don't have to marry one. (Of course, he would have been quite content if my sister and I remained pure, sweet, and innocent for our remaining days – a convent would not be disappointing to him.)

I was the light of my Dad’s life; my sister and I held a special place in his heart, making our brothers take a back seat. Sorry guys.

When I was in 8th grade (at one of the last eight-grade schools here in Spokane), we had a Father Daughter Tea. I was beyond thrilled to have my Dad, suited up, attend this tea. (So, that’s probably why I like men in uniform; a suit is such a class act!)

My Dad was ten feet tall to me. I would place my feet on his and he would dance me around the living room. He was everything to me and I to him. Once I sliced open my hand on a broken glass milk bottle (remember those?) He was just sick with grief for that little injury. The emergency room staff made him leave because they didn’t want to deal with a fainting father. His hand hurt…. Later when he broke his leg, my leg itched. We joked that it was too bad that when I scratched my leg, it wouldn’t relieve the terrible itching he had under his cast that ran from his foot to his hip. (I was 16 – in fact, he broke his leg the day before my birthday and that was a time that hospitals limited visitors to 16 and older.)

Funny, years after I became a mother and had two sons, I was walking out of the building I worked in, a bank, and this cute little man held the door open for me. I blinked, thinking he looked familiar when I realized that it was my ten-foot tall hero-Dad displayed as the real human being he was - only a couple inches taller than me. :)

In March of 1994, I wrote a short article that was picked for “Your Turn” in the Spokesman Review, titled “Happy Father’s Day.” It wasn’t Father’s Day; it was a memorial for my Dad who died December 19, 1993.

It was a thank you to my Dad; I had turned it into a speech for my Toastmaster’s group and it went something like this:

Thank you, Dad, for all the memories.

  • The time you made sling shots for all of us kids out of wooden clothes clips and rubber from inner tubes. Good for zapping little brothers.
  • The time it snowed so deep that you made an igloo for us that lasted for two whole months!
  • The same year, you made the fantastic toboggan run behind our house that was so sleek and fast that it would propel our six-man toboggan down and around the barn, and whoosh back up to the top – we only had to walk it over to the starting point and do it all again.
  • Making up the rule not to sing at the kitchen table or the window would fall on our heads. (Says something about how happy we were that you would have to make up a rule to keep us from singing at the kitchen table!)
  • Making up the Quiet Game (again at the kitchen table) where the game was lost at the first peep from a child, so we would spend delicious minutes making faces and sticking out our tongues at hapless siblings until one would burst out laughing. It only would last maybe five minutes before one of us would cave.
  • Coming up with titles for the book you never wrote. Naming the cats after events like Sir Odd Leigh Waffled (the result of making waffles that were, well, odd) and Precious Horace D, or PhD, the only doctor in the family.
  • The time we were camping at Priest Lake and our beach ball got away from us in the cool morning hours and you rushed in after it in your underwear – boxer shorts! How totally embarrassing to a 13-year old daughter when you came back with the beach ball, shorts plastered to your skin, and an audience of all the campers in the area. Clapping.

  • Sunday drives, especially ones where you would shout "I know a SHORT CUT!" that always turned out very obviously to us in the back seat - NOT! Like the time we got stuck on a flooded muddy road that went on for at least a mile and we (meaning your four children) pushed the car the entire way.


  • There are more wonderful memories. But the Dad-Daughter Dessert has to be right up there on top.

    At the end of my Toastmaster’s speech, every guy in the room who had a daughter came up to me to thank me for reminding me of their most important duty as a father.

    A father’s love for his child is the foundation for that child’s future. And a father’s relationship to his daughter is unique and the force behind her self esteem, growth, life, decisions.

    Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I miss you greatly!

    3 comments:

    Al said...

    As I recall the brothers were out working with Dad and the tractor plowing, or haying or planting fence posts, when you ran out the the house, dish towel wrapped around your bleeding hand. My thought was, "Geeze, what a klutz!". Anyway, nice memories.

    MarmiteToasty said...

    Wow.... beautiful, truely beautiful...... how very special..... *smiling* at your wonderful memories......

    See if you have time to read mine.... I didnt know of you back then and so you wouldnt of read my tribute to my father....

    See what ya think...

    http://marmitetoasty.blogspot.com/2007/06/to-my-father-i-should-hate-you-but-i.html

    Your post has so moved me...

    X

    Panch said...

    Jeanie, hello. I just happened to stumble upon your blog just now and I'm so glad that you saw and read my little story on the recent father daughter dance. I created that event for Liberty Lake three years ago and have had the special pleasure of escorting my beautiful young daughter Sophia to the dances. I just read about your father here, and it truly touched me. Thank you. The father of my Sophia, Frank