My father has been gone almost 14 years now, and there are still many times when something exciting happens that I reach for the phone to call and tell Dad about it. I still really miss him a lot.
He never got to meet my son J, something I always wish were possible. I have told J all about my Dad and he has a picture of my Dad getting a medal for his service in the Korean war, pinned to his bulletin board in his bedroom. He thinks that is pretty cool.
My father did a lot in his life. He joined the Navy but that only lasted a few months, either because he got seasick or because they found out he was under age (I don't remember). He was 15.
He once hitchhiked across Canada from Quebec. He ended up with frost bite and had to have the soles of his feet peeled.
He spent 3 years as part of Princess Patricia's light infantry in Korea. He told me, when coming home, he got here the day before he left Korea, because of the time difference.
He also told me a story of going down into a gully where a mounted machine gun was, he crept slowly down but ducked quickly when he heard gunfire - he shmucked his head open on a rock when he ducked down and ended up in the hospital - he found out later it was his side firing.
He had only two siblings, brothers. Only his eldest is still alive.
His mother died of cancer when he was only a young teen.
My father only had about a grade 6 education but was one of the smartest men I knew.
My father taught me all the provinces and capital cities of Canada before they taught them to me in school.
My father didn't care much for long division and having to show your work (include all steps), he said I should have got more points for being able to work it out in my head (which he insisted I learn to do).
My father was argumentative, as was I and he wished an argumentative child one me. I got one. :)
Everyday after work and dinner, my father would have a tea and read the newspaper front to back.
My father was the king of common sense. If you knew him, you would understand this statement.
My father was the cook in our family. He made the best fish chowder (as well as many other dishes), something I have tried to duplicate but never come quite close enough. Before I was born, he owned a tavern in Quebec that he cooked in. A regular customer would come in daily and ask in French for his steak to be charred. He didn't mean simply well done, he meant charred to the point that you could snap the meat apart - my father always said it hurt him to do that to a decent piece of beef.
My father was an entrepreneur before that word was cool. He had several businesses throughout the years. He had a commercial cleaning business. He built houses with my brother. He owned the afore mentioned tavern. Many years of his life he worked as a printing press operator.
Dad did a fair amount of carpentry over the years as well. Before I was born, when there were just 4 of us (there are 6 now), and times were a little tight, Dad made the boys desks with wooden horse heads on them, made the girls a full-sized play house, cradles for their dolls and bean bag toss games. Year later Dad made me a custom built bed that had a slot in the headboard for my "boom box".
My Dad always told me to be my own person - don't "follow the sheep" as he put it - don't be afraid to be different.
My father was always willing to lend a hand. When my sister separated from her husband, she lived with my parents for a few months until she could find her own place for herself and her sons. Once she did, Dad was there to help with painting while she was at work.
Dad passed away in his sleep the day before my 27th birthday. I received a call at work from my eldest brother telling me that Dad had died. You know when you read a story and they describe the feeling of cold water being tossed on you - well that is exactly what I felt.
My Mom said later that she though maybe he knew he was going to die - he had recently promised to do things with her in the fall, things he wouldn't normally agree to, like joining her senior's group (he called them "ole fogys" and he said he wasn't old :).
I still miss my Dad so much - I probably always will.
If your Dad is still with you, please give him a hug or even just a phone call. Don't wait - do it now, while you still can.
Happy Father's Day to my Dad, my husband and all the other Dad's out there.