Sunday, June 15, 2008
86x365: My old man
In celebration of Father's Day, I thought I would introduce mine. He's been living across the world from us for a year or so now and we miss him a lot. We miss him less when he comes to visit, but eventually he leaves again.
It is surprisingly difficult to know what to write about a man who has always been in my life. Do I tell about when we were kids? How he would let us work with tools and pieces of wood helping us to make boats and paint them with stain? He made wood toys for us -- a sawed-off shotgun, swords and shields, doll cradles and houses. He made an ice rink in the backyard every winter until we moved to the city and helped us learn to skate. He would let us sing in the car for almost an hour before condemning us to silence when "Down by the Sea" got too annoying.
Dad worked too hard and too long to try and provide us with what he felt we needed -- food, clothing, a house and a mom who could stay at home. He is one of the most generous people there is and will give the shirt off his back to someone who needs it and then have nothing for himself. He has the luck of our family -- if he can lose money, break something, get the worst end of the deal, etc he will. But he takes it all in stride and with graciousness and I think it taught me how to deal with disappointment without falling apart.
Dad is a giant. At 6'2" and the size of a refrigerator, he is easy to spot and looks like a teddy bear. Kids flock to him everywhere he goes. Mom used to call him "Uncle Al the kiddies pal" because he could always be found surrounded by kids. Sometimes Dad can be surly, but not if there is a baby around. Then he gets a goofy grin and you can almost see his insides go gooey.
He's a good man who tries hard and is sometimes too hard on himself. Happy Father's Day, Daddio.