For most of us, in our lives, there is one person who stands out from all others. For me, this is my Dad.
I remember the Plymouth Fury convertible. My Dad picked us up early from school on the day he got the car. He wanted us to share in the joy and give our approval. It was cream colored and just about the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
One year, we packed up and left for the country for our summer vacation in the evening at bedtime. My Dad had a mattress in the back and we climbed aboard. It felt so special.
Every Friday, after work, we went to the toy store. It was an old fashioned place; a place of kiddy dreams. We got to pick something out each week. It didn’t have to be big, but it made every week a celebration.
Even though my mom was terribly afraid of dogs, we decided to get a collie. My Dad researched breeders. When the litter was born, we visited the kennel to see the puppies and pick out our pooch. Then, we had to wait until she was ready to come home. He let her sleep next to me on her first night home. At the time, I wanted to be a veterinarian. We already had two parakeets. We’d had a rabbit. And fish. And turtles, which my brother and I used to race. We used to take her to a dog park and play. My collie, Sabrina, was a dream come true.
When my parents decided that we were going to build a house, we were always brought along to give our ideas and opinions. We’d leave early on a weekend morning, stopping first at the local coffee shop around the corner to pick up fresh, buttered rolls and chocolate milk.
Just before the house was finished, my Dad decided that we were going to camp out in our unfinished house. It was a Friday night and he packed a picnic dinner in his brief case. We slept on the wood underlayment in my bedroom. He put in an above ground pool right after we moved in – even before we had any landscaping.
At Halloween, we built the most amazing costumes and collected bags of candy. I won a prize for one, which was an astronaut. It was an elaborate thing concocted from boxes and piping and aluminum foil.
My Dad loved the Mets. We used to go to games. I went to the World Series and kept score.
I became an avid fan of the Beatles. So, my Dad bought me The Illustrated book of their lyrics. He brought me to my first concert ever, which was Sha Na Na. Then we went to see Santana at The Filmore East. I think I was nine or ten.
He taught us old army songs that he learned while in the service. We’d sing them in the car when we traveled.
When he worked for a publishing company, he’d bring me home books and books. My love of words and reading has continued throughout my life.
He was the least selfish, most giving person that I’ve ever known. An engineer, he could build just about anything. His tool kit was legendary: filled with all sorts of interesting things I used to love picking through. I still love to go to the hardware store.
On weekend mornings, I’d climb onto his side of the bed, resting my head in the crook of his outstretched arm and fall blissfully back to sleep.
Perhaps most special is that my Dad told me that I could do anything I set out to do. He supported me in my dreams and aspirations. He gave me the space to do my thing and be myself. He never told me anything I wanted to do was silly or that it wasn’t for girls.
This is for you, my dearest Dad. My success has been fed by your love. Happy Father’s Day.