This week’s question:
What memories do you have of your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
He’s still alive, so I’m not giving most of that away. However, I can talk about my Dad all day long. The problem is always, “Where do I start?”
My Dad is a really great man. I’ve always heard that a girl compares every man she meets to her father and it’s absolutely true. He’s not perfect and never claimed to be. He’s not “totes gorg!” but he’s not half bad to look at, either! He’s not a lot of things. What he is, though, is the best Dad in the world.
When I was little, my Dad encouraged every geeky thing I could think of doing. My friends and I wanted to play “Thundercats,” and not only did he approve, he cut a Sword of Omens out and decorated it for our “Lion-O,” complete with a bike reflector over the eye! I grew up watching old Star Trek reruns enough to know what a Tribble was and why they were trouble and that Klingons would happily spill your guts for smiling at them! I saw every one of the Star Wars movies in a dark setting (no joke! The living room was pitch black the first time I watched A New Hope and Return of the Jedi was in a theater on base!). I was encouraged to explore Madeline Le’Engle after my 5th grade teacher read it to us, and that reintroduced me to The Lord of the Rings, too (the animated movies!). My Dad (Mom, too!) encouraged my reading addiction, fed it, even!
As I got older, my Dad was the one everyone adopted on the Band bus. He was one of four who were always at every game, helping the drum line unload their instruments from the back of the bus and flipping burgers in the concession stand until I was pretty sure Sponge Bob would’ve been jealous of his skill! Everyone loved my Dad! Even more, everyone knew my Dad would be the one who helped them if they needed it. He bought my first car and took me with him to the salvage yard to find missing pieces for it! He’s the one who showed me how to change my tires and oil, even if he never let me actually do it. He is the one who shook his head and laughed when I told him about my exploits in keeping that car running when I drove it to school and home again, too. He never once let me believe he wasn’t proud of me, that his love for me was anything but full blown. Don’t tell him, but I really didn’t hang the big dipper all by myself. I’m pretty sure he thinks I did. Shhhh!
When I got into college, he was the one quietly making sure I got dinner on Sundays when I came over to wash my clothes. He changed the oil and rotated the tires on my new car, and spoiled my cat. He grilled pork chops and made sure there were a few extras, all while I crashed on the couch because I was overworking myself. He bought my first legal drink when I turned 21.
Since college, he’s supported all my crazy hobbies and trusted me when I said, “Dude, you should really try this. You’ll love it.” I’ve never steered him wrong! First was Harry Potter, then the Wheel of Time. Then I talked him into DragonCon and along came JordanCon. Now, it’s the SCA. He tries to put me off, “Tiff I don’t have time to read such a long series!” and “Do you think I have time for that?!” IN the end, he always gives in and he always sighs a few months down the road and tells me I’m right, while cursing me because he’s antsy to get on the next thing involved in this wonderful new thing I’ve drug him into.
In every single case, though, he doesn’t spend much time being “Tiff’s Dad.” Just like High School when everyone loved my Dad, everyone STILL loves my Dad. His identity becomes his own very quickly, because he is naturally charismatic and friendly and will talk to you about whatever you want to talk about for however long you want to talk. You can try drinking him under the table, but I should warn you that I get my tolerance honestly and so does he.
Just in case that wasn’t enough, I have the pleasure of learning new things about him all the time. I am 38 years old and in all that time, I have never once witnessed his PTSD. Don’t think I was ignorant about it, though. My Dad survived Vietnam. You don’t get through something like that without long lasting scars. I grew up knowing there were conversations you didn’t start with him, movies he couldn’t watch, and actors and actresses who were forever on his crap-list. I heard stories about his reactions to things, though never actually witnessed it. At least, not until recently. I know part of him always thought anyone knowing his suffering would somehow diminish him in my eyes and nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, I love him more for it. I’m not alone, there, either. Witnessing it didn’t lower my opinion, it reinforced why my opinion is so high.
Memories of my Dad? I have many. I’m the lucky one who gets to keep adding to them, too.
Eat your heart out. He’s mine! 😉
~Until next time!