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Today's writing prompt is "tell us about your father."
I've known this was today's prompt since last night before bed....there's some advantages of a 'late' time zone. I mean, it's only logical that if yesterday's prompt was to write about your mother that today would be to write about your father. I've been having this internal discussion with myself about how to approach this post. I've gone about it from several different angles in my head, then had to push it away because it's just still too raw.
My daddy passed away three years ago. He was the strongest, bravest, lovingest (not a word, but who cares!) man I've ever known. There is a void that will never be filled now that he is gone. I am, and will ever be, gratefully for the memories that I have.
So, that's what I'm going to share in this post. Random memories of my daddy. You might want to grab a snack because this will most likely be a long one....
He called me "Neecee-Pooh" or just "Pooh."
He told me often that he loved me.
He would fill my car with gas every time I came home from college. Not give me money for gas; he would take my car and fill it up. And would drive a few miles 'out of the way' to pay a penny less a gallon. He also didn't EVER want the car to be below half a tank of gas and told me on more than one occasion that if I ever ran out of gas to not bother calling him. (I know he would have come to pick me up and bring me gas, but I never wanted to take that chance!!)
He was amazing with directions...something I did not get from him.
He never met a stranger in his life and could talk to anyone about just about anything like they were old friends within minutes of meeting them.
He insisted on having his bacon crisp and his syrup warmed for his pancakes.
He ordered the same thing every time we went to Cracker Barrel: "vegetable plate with pinto beans, turnip greens, hashbrown casserole, apples on the side, cornbread muffins and onion (said with a little cajun accent because he was funny that way) for the beans."
Along the same lines, he went to Subway every week day for lunch once he retired and my mother went back to work. He was there so often, and made friends with the workers and the owner, that he had his own button on the cash register!
Once my mother convinced him to try another (better) cafe, he charmed his way into the hearts of all the ladies that worked there and had (and still has) his own button on their register!
He gave the best hugs.
He went on a field trip with my Kindergarten class and it was challenging for him to get his 6'3" self into those bus seats. He spent a good forty minutes singing "little bunny foo-foo" with a bus full of 5 year olds...and seemed to enjoy it! ;)
He wasn't a fan of any particular team, but always wanted to watch 'a game' if it was on. Didn't matter if it was basketball, football, or baseball...it was always "is there a game on?" when he turned on the TV. And heaven forbid if you mistook his eyes being closed for him sleeping (even if you could hear the snoring on the other side of the house) and changed the channel!
He always wanted a 'little something sweet' after his meals. Something that I did get from him, and so has Bug.
He almost always had a bowl of cereal in the evenings.
You could tell how his day at work had gone if he came in the house whistling or not.
He would give 110% to whatever he did. His commitment and work ethic was unrivaled.
He and my mother not only went to, but helped out with, every football game through the 9 years of marching band between my sister and me. They chaperoned out of town trips and were loved by all of our friends.
He cried when I went off to college, something he didn't do often.
He drove 8 hours to come get me for break when my car was in the shop and then turned around and drove us 8 hours back to get home that same day.
He would answer our house phone "Bob's Bar and Grill" when the mood stuck him, and would even tell my sister's friends that he thought she was passed out in the back somewhere but would see if he could find her!
He didn't think we needed rolls for a holiday dinner if we already had stuffing and mashed potatoes; and he even questioned needing stuffing AND mashed potatoes, too.
He played with his grandkids. Granted, he didn't have a whole lot of patience for foolishness and when he was done, he was done; but he would play blocks and ball and sit in forts and pretend to be the groom when Bean was going through her wedding phase.
The man loved pool! He hustled pool in his teenage years. He had an on going 'rivalry' with a group of guys from church that he would shoot with most Friday nights while the wives were watching a movie or visiting over dessert. He taught both of his grandsons to play and even gave Bean a few pointers. Ubergeek enjoyed shooting pool with him and had many conversations with him over game after game in the basement of my parent's house.
He would take my mother's purse and walk through the parking lot holding it, prancing like a fabulous gay man and would drive us nuts.
He loved the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and whistled it often...even when begged to stop.
He also loved to see if he could hit the bass notes of the 'oom papa mouw wow' part of "Elvira." Ugh!
He would pat my mother on the butt when she was doing dishes...something she didn't particularly like and would usually give him 'the look' that meant she was less than pleased with the situation.
He fought brain cancer like a champ. After his biopsy, he was given 6-8 weeks without treatment; maybe a year with treatment. He kicked it's ass for two years. Sure, it took some of 'him' but for the better part of those two years, you would have never known he was fighting cancer.
The last time I heard his voice was two days before he died. By that point he wasn't able to form words anymore. In fact, my mother told me later that he hadn't even tried to make any sounds for well over a week. But, when I talked to him on the phone to let him know we were on our way, he did the best he could to talk to me. The sounds weren't even close to words, but I knew what he was telling me because I had heard it from him all my life: He loved me. He was proud of me.
I was able to be with him for the last 24 hours of his life, something I will always treasure. It was hard to see him in that hospital bed. The man that had always been able to do anything couldn't anymore.
But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that his last breath on this earth was followed by his first breath in heaven and I will be able to see him again when God decides it's my turn to go.
I love you, Daddy. I am proud to be your daughter, even if that means I'm as hardheaded and stubborn as you were. :)
his last Father's Day...he asked if I would sing at church
something I hadn't done for a while, but I'm glad I did for him
Bug...he was able to meet her and spend a week with her
when they came up after she was born