Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Every year at this time, I think back to when I was a little girl and my Mom would give me $2 to go buy Dad something at our local 5 & 10 store for Father's Day.  He had such an influence on my life - he always made me laugh and fortunately I inherited his sense of humor and love of sports.

On a Saturday afternoon in the fall, you could walk in the House with Dad in the living room with the sound turned off on the TV and the radio turned up to Ohio State Football.  Only time they were synced was when OSU was on TV and even then he might turn down the sound on the TV as he liked the radio announcers better then TV.  Can remember as a kid his rooting for Oklahoma against Nebraska as he thought Bud Wilkerson was the perfect coach.

Here I am in Norman, OK, now as a huge fan of the Sooners with football season tickets.  My Mom always said that Dad would have loved Norman after she moved here.  She settled right in her senior apartment and started watching OU football every Saturday which I had never seen my Mom do in my life.  Told Dad's love of sports did rub off and she laughed.

My parents went to see the Reds every year and couldn't wait to be old enough to go along.  It was awesome and became a huge Reds fan so much so when the kids and I planned our visits back to Ohio we made sure the Reds were in town.  We were at the first weekend series at the new Riverfront Stadium - no hot dogs just sandwiches, but they had beer and soft drinks along with peanuts.

Dad loved to go to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB.  He could spend hours there.  Even when he had trouble walking, we would get him a wheel chair and push him around - he loved the WWII exhibits seeing the planes and all the artifacts that are there.  He also loved the space exhibits.  When our family went to Disney World the second year it was open, we took a bus trip to the Kennedy Space Center which didn't even seem real.   We had such a good time except my little brother put a rubber snake under the sheets which our Mom found before we left the room.  Dad thought that was hilarious and laughed about it years later.

At 16, he taught me to drive but not to parallel park until two days before my test - he said if I concentrated on parallel parking too much, might have trouble with the driving portion so told me to just turn the steering wheel where I told you and you will pass.  He was right - passed with no problems.  Still remember being shook up after I passed and the OHP asking me where I took driving course.  Told him it was my Dad who taught me, and he said he should open up a driving school.

My girlfriend and I used to get in water fights every summer with Dad and his good friend - one summer Mom joined in and had a bucket of water she dumped on who she thought was Dad as he rounded the corner and it was his fuddy, duddy cousin who looked like him.  For some reason she never joined us again.

Then there was Dad's brother, Uncle Specky, who was always thinking up the darnedest things.  Can remember coming home on a Saturday afternoon and my parents and aunt and uncle were standing outside the back porch with my aunt and my Mom not very happy with the two men.  Turned out they had captured a snapping turtle and were going to make turtle soup but once they put it on the back porch, they had trouble catching it again.  Refused to try the turtle soup, but my Mom and Aunt kept saying it lacked something and Dad and Uncle Specky saying it was great but Mom ended up throwing it out so I would guess it wasn't so great.

Used to go fishing with Dad - not sure I ever caught a thing but it was nice to be with Dad and down by the Stillwater River which just moved slowly along.  Plenty of frogs to watch.  Used to take me hunting on Thanksgiving weekend or a better word would be he took me along for a walk because he never shot off his gun when I was with him.  I remember asking him how he could shoot a poor, defenseless rabbit and my Mom goes "I want to hear this" and after that Dad would go hunting with one of my Uncles but never brought any game home.  My one Uncle loved to hunt squirrels and frogs but Dad fed the squirrels.  We never had squirrel on our menu and our turkey came from the grocery.  He used to throw the fish back he would catch when I was along- he would say he just loved to fish.

Looking back I realize now that he liked the idea that I loved nature and didn't want to destroy that by his hunting or fishing so we went out for the long walks in the fields every year and went down by the river to fish that he would throw back.

My Dad signed up for the Army the day after Pearl Harbor - never talked much about what he saw but he was so proud to be a Veteran and to have fought for this Country in World War II.  He was a huge supporter of Dwight Eisenhower for President and instilled in me a love of Country and a willingness to be willing to stand up for what you believe - got that one down very well.

To me my Dad was my hero growing up and as an adult he was still my hero and always will be.  I feel so fortunate to have had him as my Father and the Grandfather to my three children.  Miss his smile and laughter to this day but he was in such pain from the arthritis that it was his time but he went on his own schedule.  Had not been back to Ohio for Mother's Day in years but arrived at the airport for his funeral the following week on Mother's Day.  We always said he planned it that way.

Happy Father's Day to those men who bring so much joy and happiness into their children's lives that will last a lifetime.

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