I like my dad. Oh sure, I love him too. That’s a given. But I really like him. I always have.
My dad and I like to hang out together. My parents have a gazebo in their back yard that is bejeweled in purple clematis and hanging baskets of pink petunias in the summer. The gazebo rests in the shade of towering trees that were not much more than seedlings when I lived there. Dad and I like to sit out there in the breeze that swirls through and drink iced tea and talk. Or not. Sometimes we just sit.
Sometimes we venture into the garage and make something. That’s how we got the gazebo. One time we ended up with a grape arbor. And then grapes. Another time we painted a mural of a seascape on the side of the garage. I tell him I want to make something. He tells me why it can’t be done. We go back and forth until he is convinced it is his idea. And then we set to work, the two of us, a team. The only team I’ve ever been on that never kicked me off.
My dad has a lot of qualities I admire, but the one I’d like to have that I didn’t get (especially now that I’m a parent) is patience. The man is unflappable. I remember one time when I was about nine, my brothers and I were in the living room throwing pillows and agitating one another and just generally being the rowdy obnoxious kids that we were.
Dad was in the kitchen quietly working on an oil painting. Somehow, one of the sofa pillows went sailing into the kitchen and landed squarely on dad’s painting. He just stopped what he was doing and took the pillow and the painting and deposited them both into the trash. He didn’t even grimace or make a face or even heave a sigh. There was no yelling or well-deserved discipline or even a lecture. If he had only beaten the pudding out of us, it would have been less painful than the silent expression of disappointment. There are many other times when I deserved a measure of his wrath, but it was never forthcoming.
When my dad comes to my house to visit, we get up early and meet in the kitchen for a cup of coffee and the New York Times crossword puzzle. After I fix him two eggs over easy, two pieces of bacon and a piece of toast, we sit down and work the puzzle together. He doesn’t know who Bon Jovi is. I don’t know what an ogee is. We make a good team, each one making up for the deficiencies of the other.
I’m a lucky girl. I have a daddy that I love. But I really like him too.
Happy Father’s Day Papa Ed.