To Father’s with Love

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My parents have been married for forty plus years. I have been blessed to have a dad in my home all of my life. If you are familiar with a prairie Home Companion, you may have heard the segment where the mom is on the phone talking to her son. She talks and talks about everything that is going on in her life and asks the young man when he is coming home for a visit. Then, she passes the phone to his dad. The dad says hello, asks how the young man is doing, says that’s nice and passes the phone back to the mother. I laugh and laugh when I hear those segments because it is so similar to speaking to my parents on the phone.

Dad’s often seem to be the ones tasked with actively playing with their children. When I was younger, my dad would try to race my brothers and I. Up to a certain age, he would win. After that, he would start out and then in the middle of a run say “Oh oh, a cramp, a cramp. I have a cramp.” We loved how now we could beat him at his game. Speaking of games, we knew that whatever board game we played with him, he was going to cheat. He cheated at Sorry!, Monopoly, Pente, Pictionary and more. It was hilarious! We never played a regular game with him.

My dad taught my brothers and myself to love food and cultures from around the world. He took each of us out separately to spend some time with us. We were able to choose were we wanted to go. I liked going to Wendy’s for apple dumplings, Bojangles for chicken biscuits and Pancho’s for nachos with cheese. When those outings ended, he would bring home a wide variety of foods for us to try. We tried kimchi, bean curd, jalapenos straight out of the jar, spring rolls, hoghead cheese, pickled pigs feet, escargot, smoke oysters and so much more. He is always up to trying something new. The same can be said for his love of languages. I have never met someone who walks up to someone who clearly isn’t from Germany and says good morning to them in German. And all of the world music that we felt was so weird that we now love.

From my dad, I have received my love of road trips and also reading. Every summer, we would go on a road trip to somewhere, usually outside of Texas, where I was raised. I grew up thinking it was mandatory that everyone at the church we attended went on a vacation. To this day, I love open stretches of road, driving at night, snacks in the car and playing the alphabet game. I would stay up late when my dad was driving and tell him if the road was curving, going up or down and helping him to stay awake. The older I get, I find I have the same problem as I drive late into the night. Bean isn’t old enough yet for me to ask if we are going up or down.

Bean and I can read together though. In the past, I would wonder “How can dad sit there and read while there is so much going on?” in the middle of family events. I have tried it recently and I like it. My dad was the reading parent. I don’t know how much he reads, but it seems he always has a book in his hand. He would read to us from The Brother’s Grimm book of fairy tales and I will never forget the blue book of folklore and folktales checkered with black marks where the curse words were marked out.

The person that I am today is directly related to the person that my dad is and what he has taught me. My dad has so many stories to tell, however, he doesn’t talk a lot. He has introduced me to many of the things that he loves and find interesting in life. I, in turn, have discovered I also enjoy those things. Being a parent, I now teach Bean the same way I was taught. I share with her the things that I love. Dad, thank you for being you. I love you!

On this Father’s Day weekend, dad, papas, and fathers everywhere, know that your presence in the life of your children is the most important thing you can give them. It isn’t about what physical presents you give as much as it is about your physical presence. Happy Father’s Day!

If you have a story to tell about your father or grandfather, please share it in the comments. I really enjoy hearing stories of life and family.

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