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.

28 comments:

Marilyn Miller said...

What a wonderful Dad. I can see you are very proud of him. Thanks for sharing. It is nice to hear positive stories of Dad's, as I didn't have those stories.

Connie said...

In the future, warn us and we will have tissues at the ready! What an amazing tribute to your Dad!
My Dad was that type of awesome as well.

Anita said...

Goosebumps...I miss my Daddy, who died when I was 21- and that was 20 years ago. He was the kind who would have done that.

Little girls and their dads...

Anita

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

Your dad is amazing. That's the kind of dad my daughter has and I'm so very grateful.

spread your wings said...

that is a such a great story and certainly gives a great picture of the wonderful dad you have - wow. my dad still does so much for me it sort of makes me ashamed - like i should be doing more for him at his age (82)

beth said...

what an amazing story...
and an amazing man...

and you know, don't you, that your hubby will do the exact same thing for your daughter ?

Susan Tuttle said...

what a special father -- your story is precious:)

i want to read Orangette's book -- now I really must after reading your perception of it -- sounds like good one:)

thank you for the sweet, sweet comment on my blog:)

xo

elk said...

what a heart felt post about a very important figure i a girls life..her daddy! You tugged on my heart strings with this essay

Gayle said...

What a sweet and wonderful man your dad is!

Kamana said...

and what a lovely man he sounds!

Patti said...

Aww Relyn~ he sure sounds precious- lucky you!!! I can tell he is extremely special in your life and for that you are blessed! Beautiful post...

Btw- really, you did not like Middle Plcae? I am surprised...

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I'm always reminded of the phrase from the Pollyanna movie "if you look for the bad in people, you will surely find it". What a great Dad and an awesome story! It's the little things that make someone special...sounds like he did quite a few of the "little things" for you!

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Wow Relyn ~ seeing your dad through your eyes just now gave me a real understanding of how important he is to you! I can't help but think how better off our little dating gals would be if all fathers waited up for their girls ready for a chat. How wise was your father and how wise are you for knowing it! Love you, me

dutchbaby said...

A touching, and telling, story filled with love. Thanks for sharing.

Cam said...

Such a blessing for a love like that!

Thank you, Relyn...

Made me think of my own first love, my Granddaddy! And, of my Dad, who came along when I was twelve, and showed me how a father truly loves a child!

Blessings to you & yours.

Delena said...

Dad's always act so tough until it comes to their daughters and then they melt.

Hugs!

W. Latane Barton said...

What a special Dad you have. That story brought tears to my eyes. You see, I have heard that my Dad was that kind of guy but I never knew my Dad. He was killed by lightning 4 months before I was born.

You are indeed very blessed.

Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

What a nice Dad - and Mom too. And what a snappy lttle girl they have!! :0)

Christina said...

How beautiful! I feel where your thoughtfulness, comes from.
xo

Jessica said...

I loved that book. It made me go and give my papa a big ole hug. Yours sounds terrific, just like you!

Dawn said...

I love that story. My dad still fills up my moms tank, and mine when I come by. Its so sweet.

Love the title of your blog, I love that poem.

Suvarna said...

Happy tears! what a beautiful story of fatherly love!

Southern Drawl said...

Wow, you are so blessed. Beautiful, beautiful...You made me cry...

Martina said...

Your Dad sounds great (just like mine!!). I wanted to say that I am holding out to my holidays in 3 weeks time to read that book!! However, I have just finished "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan...fantastic...strongly recommend! Mx

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Heartfelt...that is what this story is. It tells so much. You are blessed.

robin bird said...

this made me cry a little bit. not out of sadness exactly but out of "oh you are so lucky to have your Dad, your particular Dad!" kind of tears. i was a little worried that at the end you might say you no longer had your dad and sooo relieved that you did not have to. That is a great memory of your childhood. it is those rituals that i remember best.
xo

Jeanie said...

He does sound like a wonderful man! I'm so very glad you shared him with us. I know that the 15 years since my dad died, I have missed him most every day, but none more than Father's Day. This post is a gem.

meandering pearl said...

so special! have a lovely trip :)
dear wishes

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