Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Reminiscing

We really didn't do anything special during Father's Day, like going out to dinner or that sort of thing. The girls both got Bill, my husband, something, and that was special.

What I did do was spend time remembering my own Father. He's been gone several years now, and I love the great memories I have of him. I get choked up when I pull his picture out of my purse. He was so handsome, and funny, and did a lot of things with us kids.

We used to go mushroom hunting, looking for truffles. We combined it with a picnic lunch and went down a few roads here and there until we found a spot that looked like it might have some mushrooms. Once we'd found some (or not), we'd go sit on the tailgate of the station wagon and pull out the fried chicken and whatnot, always topping it off with chocolate chip cookies.

Every summer, we also went to what we called "our private swimming hole." Of course it wasn't really, but that's what our family always called it, so I was always shocked when other people were swimming at "our place." The road along the way had tiny rises and falls, so my dad would accelerate, then we'd bump over the top of the rise, and lose our stomachs!

Then there were family vacations punctuated mostly by fishing trips. One morning, my dad was really sneaky about getting out of the tent, grabbing his fishing gear, and heading out. Fortunately (for me), I saw him, put my clothes on real quick, ducked out of the tent, grabbed my fishing gear, and caught up with him. Although I'm sure he wanted to fish by himself, he waited for me, and worked with me while I caught my limit.

I remember, too, when he helped me learn that state capitals for class. He showed me how to use mnemonics to remember them, and sat patiently while we went over the capitals time and time again.

Of course, life wasn't always rosy. He had a heart condition, and one time, while on vacation, we had to divert to a town so he could go to the hospital, and he ended up in there for several days.

He wasn't perfect, of course. He also had a fierce temper, and we learned to vanish when he was angry. But I loved my dad, and when I was younger, I wanted to be just like him. Although now, I don't want that, I hope that I've carried away from our relationship some of the values he portrayed in life: love, family, and hard work.

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