Today we celebrate Dad. My Dad great up outnumbered in a house full of women. It was three to one, with two daughters and of course my mom. Then when I was eleven, we adopted a cat. Against his wishes. And she was a girl, too.
But one of the good things about growing up in this environment is that as a girl, you learn how to do all kinds of useful stuff. Like how to help put up [or take down] a snow fence (I grew up in the North, y'all). How to winterize a swimming pool.
How to caulk a bathroom sink. How to unclog a toilet. How to paint a room - and the ceiling! How to make dinner when Mom's not around. How to drink egg nog the 'right' way. For those who wonder, it's with 'extra nog' from the liquor cabinet.
How to spin the aerial antenna toward Toledo to watch Browns games on Sunday afternoon. How to change window screens on Derby Day. How to eat a ridiculous amount of ice cream in one sitting.
And, evidently, how to rock a baseball cap. For reasons unknown we called these Spanky hats.
I have learned much from both of my parents. But my dad has always had a way of saying things in a funny way to make us laugh (or at times, cringe). For example, a hard rain is known as a "frog strangler" if Dad is around. His jokes are unmatched, and he never lets you win at board games or at cards or at anything else, really. If you win against Dad, you earned it. To this day, I am a competitor in every game I play and I don't let people win. That is 100% because of Dad..... for better or worse! Dad can be a cornball at times, but he is also one of the most honest and straightforward people you'll ever meet. I like to think those traits are pumping through my veins too! He also has a ton of expressions to teach you lessons- like fables but wittier. I really need to have him write them all down because I can't remember them all.
A few gems from Dad:
If you fail to plan, you plain to fail
Measure twice, cut once
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
The school of hard knocks has the most expensive tuition
If you stop by for a visit on a summer day, and Dad is washing the family cars, he'll wash yours too. Just ask Hannah.
And if you're hungry, he'll grill you something for a snack. Even if you don't ask for it, he'll offer you a 'frozen treat' If you go into labor and your husband is not home, Dad will take you to the hospital. Just ask my aunt.
As if the jokes weren't a giveaway, Dad loves to laugh and kid around. It was his idea to do the stunt, below. Last September Al and I recreated the scene nearly 20 years later.... if only he was in town, too, to join the madness!
So, I know it's just one day to celebrate Dad, but if you have an awesome Dad, like my sister and I do, try to celebrate him every day. He deserves it! As always, I leave you with one of my most favorite pieces ever written.
Paul Harvey's "What Are Fathers Made Of"
A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth, without an anesthetic.
A father is a thing that growls when it feels good–and laughs loud when it’s scared half to death.
A father never feels entirely worthy of worship in his child’s eyes. He never is quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be. This worries him, sometimes, so he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him.
A father is a thing that gets very angry when school grades aren’t as good as he thinks they should be. He scolds his son although he knows it’s the teacher’s fault.
Fathers grow old faster than other people.
And while mothers can cry where it shows, fathers stand there and beam outside–and die inside. Fathers have very stout hearts, so they have to be broken sometimes or no one would know what is inside. Fathers give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody’s. Fathers fight dragons almost daily. They hurry away from the breakfast table, off to the arena which is sometimes called an office or a workshop…where they tackle the dragon with three heads: Weariness, Work and Monotony.
Knights in shining armor.
Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who will live the longest. Though they know the odds, they keep right on betting. Even as the odds get higher and higher, they keep right on betting more and more.
And one day they lose.
But fathers enjoy an earthly immortality and the bet is paid off to the part of him he leaves behind.
I don’t know where fathers go when they die. But I have an idea that after a good rest, he won’t be happy unless there is work to do. He won’t just sit on a cloud and wait for the girl he’s loved and the children she bore. He’ll be busy there, too…oiling the gates, smoothing the way.