In keeping with the Year of the Letters, I suggested in my last post that for February that we write a letter to someone we miss. My dad died in his mid-sixties so I penned him this letter.
I lost my dad early. Only in my late thirties, he left our family for bigger parts, heaven, mainly. I miss him so I am sending him a letter. It’s a little crazy to think he might actually read this letter but I believe in miracles so maybe God will let him take a peek at this.
Dad, if I can thank you for one thing in my life it would be passing on your love of life. I am always chuckling at things that strike my fancy just like you used to do. But even more, I always liked how you never seemed to fear life, especially when appearing a little silly or foolish. Do you remember when you were invited to a graduation party for a neighbor who had just graduated from medical school? The invitation specifically stated that all guest come dressed as their favorite teacher. As always thinking a little outrageous, you flapped you flippers to the event, two blocks, your face covered with a face mask and your snorkel jutting out of the side of your head. You had decided to come dressed as a swim instructor and you didn’t even blink when the hostess opened the front door and all the other guests wore business suits. Good for you, Dad, you always made a party memorable.
Practical jokes were your specialty. We’d wake up as little children with you peering out the back door window, insisting the escaped circus elephant ended up in our backyard asleep under the apricot tree. When we caught on to that joke you tried jolting us out of bed by informing us “It snowed five inches last night” or “Come see the dozen leprechauns digging for the pot of gold on our front lawn.” Even when we found out you were just trying to get all four of us out of bed for school, a lingering doubt crept into our minds. Maybe he really did see something?
Do you remember how you serenaded dinner guests on our patio in the summer? Learning a couple of guitar chords you belted out Kingston Trio favorites like, Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley. I know your unabashed confidence to vocalize to any group influenced me to take up singing and guitar. You always added the fun to our lives.
Fun didn’t just take place during parties. Whipping up anything with the label “breakfast” attached, you,not IHOP invented chocolate chip pancakes and Velveeta Cheese Eggs, whipped up to perfection with a blender. Your fame as a cook must have got around because one day the Palo Alto Times showed up to interview you as the Cook of the Week. We held our heads high as we read the two-page spread spotlighting your fantastic recipes.
So Dad I know are making the rounds in heaven telling corny jokes with that big grin that couldn’t wait to tell someone the punchline. You always enjoyed life while you and Mom raised us kids. I guess that’s the best gift you ever gave me.
The above picture is of (from left to right) my sister, Debbie, my brother Paul and me. Harrison, the youngest had not been born yet.