Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day all you other fathers out there.

Today at brunch (at which my daughter made the most awesome pancakes) we talked about our memories of our fathers.

One of my earliest memories of my father is of him painting a ceiling in the dining area of our house on a Saturday morning while my sister and I watched cartoons -- Mighty Mouse of course! Not much more to the memory. My dad used to cut my hair. It seems like it was always on a Saturday afternoon and ABC Wide World of Sports was on the TV. I don't recall him watching it so much as listening while he did chores around the house. He cut my hair until I basically rebelled (late 60's, early 70's) and grew it out. It was one of the few things we fought about.

He was a gentle and loving father, and always willing to talk reasonably about anything (except the length of my hair). He didn't show a lot of emotion when I was younger, but I knew he loved us more than anything. He took my friend Steve and I fishing on Lynx Lake outside of Prescott, Arizona. We rented a boat and everything. We really sucked at fishing, but it was wonderful. We had a great time. I didn't care that we never caught anything, it was just being out there together that mattered.

He told corny jokes, was a devout Christian, and provided for our family (we didn't have a lot of money and our vacations almost always consisted of camping, but they were wonderful times together). He never blew up at any of us kids. Even the time, as a young driver, that I continued driving our VW van after the generator (fan) belt broke and the engine overheated and seized. I remembered that the day my daughter smoked the clutch in my VW Vanagon. He has been my role model as a father.

He was also quite an accomplished athlete. A high school basketball star, he played varsity basketball for one year at Michigan Tech. He was a natural at all sports. If it involved a ball, a racket, a club -- he would immediately master it. He never held back, and I could never compete with him. Even a few years ago at Thanksgiving. He beat me at ping pong. He was a natural at virtually any sport. Except running -- issues with his hip. Of course, running became my thing. Not because it was something I could do that he didn't do, but that it was something I could do to push myself to my own limits. Something in which I could find my own physical excellence, at the level where I am; not any great athlete, but the very average person I am. I think he would understand that.

He set a fine example of fatherhood for my brothers and myself. He encouraged all of his children to strive for excellence, but accepted us all for who we were. He set a very high mark for my brothers and I to meet.

He passed away a year and a half ago and I miss him dearly.

I hope all of you, if you could, have expressed your appreciation to your father, or to that person who was most a father-figure to you. And for those of you who can no longer do so, perhaps you can share a fond memory with someone else.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Krut, I have lots of similar memories. Discussions about long hair (Dad finally decided that I didn't have to have the shortest hair in school but he also didn't want me to have the longest -- so we reached a compromise).

We camped a lot on vacations. Once all the way from Little Rock to Myrtle beach and another time to Yellowstone and back.

I learned after I left home that he never liked fishing but took my three brothers and me because we did.

Great tribute to your dad. It's prompted some of my own about mine. Thanks for the post.

6/18/2006 8:48 PM  

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