He would have been 74 today. Just happened to see the date. Jeez, how could I have forgotten? On May 10th, I will have been without him for 21 years. 21 years… Whatever pains and losses I have experienced in my life, that was the worst. And for those years I had him, I had a love that none other has come close to. My best friend, my partner in crime. My happiest happiness.
I wish I remembered him better. I’ve written about him before. Those little glimpses of memories that remain. The nights I spent waiting up for him. The early mornings when we’d go out for donuts. How he wore that sheepskin coat mom hated. His boots, his beat up hats. His penchant for corduroy. How easily he laughed. His jokes..
That would have been taken a couple years before I was born. Back when my parents lived down the street from my grandparents – my mom’s parents. Sexy, wasn’t he? The long black socks beneath the boots really set it off for me. Yeah, my mom looked pretty stellar too. God, they were so happy.
Anyone who’s ever been really close to me, or who has had the misfortune of reading some of my earlier blog posts knows the story of my dad. How his parents were cold and cruel people. How happy he was to become a part of my mom’s family. They loved him. My younger aunts were a little in love with him when he and my mom first got together. It was impossible not to love him. He was sweet, funny, kind. He was a big kid. My best friend.
My brother, me and my dad at the zoo. Guessing I was about 6 or 7? God, we had so many good times. I almost rode an elephant there once. My brother did, but I was too scared. We’d have lunch by the sea lion exhibit. Hot dogs and Pepsis all around. My dad would play jokes on us. I can’t recall them now, but I remember us screaming and running around the concession stands like mad. And my mom trying to corral us all into behaving. “Behave!” Mom would call. “What’s a ‘have’?” Dad would ask. Always got a laugh. At least from me.
I was so like him. Again, childish. Something I haven’t gotten to be a lot lately. I miss it. That light-heartedness he always had that I so readily inherited. Seems to have gotten sucked out of me in recent years.
I miss him. Every day. His loss so permanently altered me. And the memories I have now are so few. The last clear one I have, before all the hospital memories are of he and I riding in the car. It was just the two of us – it so often was – and I was upset with him. I must have been 11. I’d done something and gotten myself grounded, a punishment no doubt laid down by my mother. And being dad he had to enforce it. So I was in the passenger seat sulking. It may have been one of his “Whatsamatta U” jokes that did it. But I remember trying to fight back a smile. Sneaking a look at his crooked grin. And busting out laughing. That was one of the great things about him. You could never stay mad at him.
Anyway, yeah. Today he would have been 74. Happy Birthday Dad. Miss you like crazy.