Thursday, June 25, 2009
Of Books, Ice Cream, and Dads
I just finished reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, author of the blog Orangette. Her book was marvelous; a lovely mix of foodie writing, recipes, and memoir. She writes about her family with so much affection that I feel blessed to read it. Molly loves her father with the same passion that Kelly Corrigan loves hers, but with a more clear-eyed view. (I know that I just might be the only woman in America who did not adore The Middle Place.) I found Kelly's Dad to be just too much. What adult still calls himself Greenie? A nickname bestowed in high school because of farts. Really! But, anyway. This post is not about The Middle Place. Or even about A Homemade Life. It's about Dads. Mine in particular. Molly's love for her Dad makes me itch to write about my own.
But. What to tell you? My Dad is an incredible man. I could gush and coo and you would think I am as infatuated as Kelly. I could tell you his faults, to prove I see him clearly, but I'm just not interested in that. Who cares about his faults? We all have them. In spades. I think we begin to become an adult when we learn to overlook faults and focus on what is good and right about a person. When we learn, not just to forgive the faults, but to stop seeing them. That's one of the things my dad (and my father-in-law) have taught me.
So, here's a story that sums up my Dad. When I was 17, I came home late on a Sunday night, only seconds before "Uh oh." I had to drive my brother and I to school the next day and my gas tank was on empty. Of course, I hadn't made time to fill it. It is important to note that school was a 40 minute drive away. Needed that gas. So, I asked my Mom to wake me up a 1/2 hour early because I had to stop for gas on my way to school. Monday morning arrives and finds me snapping at my mother because she didn't wake me up early, and now I'm either going to be late for school or run out of gas. We won't even go there with the snapping at my mother discussion. As you must already be able to tell, she had infinite patience for her fractious, not-a-morning-person daughter. Instead she played with my hair a moment, smiled at me, and told me that Daddy had filled it up last night, and breakfast would be ready in a few minutes. She went downstairs and I sat on my bed, stupefied.
You see, Dad was not up waiting for me the night before. And, he always was. Not a hawk-eye-out-the-front-window kind of waiting. His was a sitting-in-the-armchair-with-a-good-book, hope-she'll-tell-me-about-her-evening kind of waiting. In our family, Mom went to bed. Dad waited up. Until the day I married, when I came home from a date, Dad would holler up from the basement, "Hi honey. There's ice cream in the freezer." I'd scoop out two bowls and join him. We'd eat ice cream and talk. About my date, about boys, about my friends, my dreams, my classes. About everything and nothing at all.
But, on that night, Dad wasn't waiting. Mom was. Because Dad was sick. When she went to bed, he rolled over to check that I had made it home safe and sound. She told him about me needing to get up early to stop for gas. And, this is why I was stupefied, slightly ashamed of myself. He got up. Out of bed. Sick. And went to fill my car with gas. So I wouldn't have to get up 30 minutes early.
And that, my friends, is the kind of Dad I have.
Amazing image from Country Living magazine.
In case you want more...
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