Ten years ago today, my father died. It’s very, very hard for me to believe that it has been ten whole years that I’ve been rattling around in this world without listening to his jokes or seeing his handsome face.

One of my favorite things in the whole world was watching my dad being all serious-like, usually giving my mom a hard time about something or other. He would catch my eye and give me a quick wink and a barely- perceptible nod which meant, “Let’s see how long I can keep her going.” The longer it went on and the more riled Mom would get, the harder time he would have keeping a straight face. He would stifle a chuckle and his shoulders would start heaving up and down before he would let out a laugh. When my mom would realize he was pulling her chain she would get all the madder. I was always torn, whether to side with my mother or join in the laughing with my dad and risk pissing Mom off even more. I’m sorry, Mom, for all those times I just couldn’t help laughing. It was such a great feeling to share that little joy with my dad. He took so much pleasure in getting a rise out of you. And yeah, maybe he got a few too many chuckles at your expense, but, damn. That was how he was. It was one of his lop-sided ways of showing you how much he loved you.

It was hard for my dad to express love. He was 3 years old when his own mother died. He was raised by relatives and worked very hard for everything he ever got. The story of how he and his brothers each received a single, white dress shirt as their Christmas presents tears me up when I think of it. It totally humbled me when I learned that applesauce was a rare and special treat at their dinner table and was dished out sparingly. As I got older, it made more sense to me that my dad was a proud man and expected my sister, four brothers and I to take care of and respect our possessions. I don’t ever remember being denied a single thing I asked for as I was growing up. In return, we were expected to do our best, respect our elders and go to church every Sunday. In retrospect, that was not a lot to expect for all he gave us in return. While he was not a terribly affectionate man, his actions spoke volumes about how much we were loved.

And he was good. And he was honorable. And he was funny.

I’m not going to go on. I could for pages and pages, but I want to leave you with this. If you are lucky and your own father is still in your life, love the hell out of him, faults and all. There very well could come a time when you would give everything you own just to have his arms around you one more time…

… or in my case, hear him say, “I love you, too, Wink.”

11 responses to “WHERE DID IT GO?

  1. very beautiful post and with much love! – PD

  2. AWWWWWWWWW I am going to give my dad a BIG hug the next time I see him. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

  3. Nice post wink, this is why I read your stuff all the time, that and your funny too. PD is a lucky man!

  4. That post made me tear up.

  5. What a great tribute to your father. I dread the day I have to think back to when my dad used to be alive.

    For years my phone conversations with my father ended awkwardly — I think because both of us knew something was missing. Although actions, not words, express love better than anything else, it meant a lot to me that, now that I’m 37, my father and I close phone conversations with, “I love you,” without mumbling.

  6. That made me cry! I wish I could have met your dad. I can’t imagine my life without my dad. He has taught me so much and I truely respect him. I never leave either of my parents without a hug, kiss, and an “I love you”.

  7. Very touching.
    I can really relate to this post. I’d bet that your dad and my dad are probably having a few laughs at some poor, exasperated saint’s expense right now.

  8. PD: Thanks. Sweet of you to speak up.
    They say couples begin to resemble each other after awhile.
    You need a haircut.

    Lori: Thanks, and enjoy that hug.

    Jeff: You just made my day.
    I’ll tell PD you said so. When he stops laughing, I’ll let you know what he says…

    K’lar: I knew you had another side… 😉

    Mark: Thanks for sharing that.

    Natalie: He would have liked you a lot. And it would have been totally mutual.
    Please tell P&M I said hi when you see them.

    M+: LOL. I hope they are!

  9. awww, this is very touching, he will live in your memories forever, as well as your children, and their children.

    that is something that brings me peace, knowing that i can share my dad with others even though he is physically not here.


  10. I miss pap-pap. He and I dominated many-a-word find in our day. He’s the reason I pour garlic over everything I eat. He’s probably the root of my never ending badgering of Gram. And while I’d let him know what I learned in school EVERYday when he’d ask me, I’m still not sure if he realized that he’d ask me the same question on Saturdays and Sundays.

  11. BoBu: Thank you for this, Buddy 🙂 Of course he knew he was asking you on Saturdays and Sundays, that’s precisely why he would ask. Same for when he’d ask “Did you pass?” no matter what part of the school year it was. And I loved when we’d bring friends around to watch TV and he’d ask, “Do you have TV at your house?” He was the Ultimate Smart Ass. And I love that some of that rubbed off on all of us. Remember how he would hardly ever call anyone by their right name?
    You were a great student… you have that badgering thing down to an Art. I’m so glad that you got to know him as well as you did before he left us. I can still see him nibbling on your ear when you were just a little tyke. He adored you like crazy.

    Piglet: Thanks from the heart 🙂

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