Monday, February 2, 2004

Remembering Dad

Things I remember about Dad that make me smile:

When he decided to propose to my mother, he asked a co-worker at the Merchandise Mart where there was "a good jewelry store" in town (Chicago.) My mother received a registered blue-white diamond from C.D. Peacock. It cost him a month’s pay.

He loved to tend his veggie garden. At one home, we had the worst impermeable clay soil you could imagine. He managed to coax tomatoes, corn, beans (tons of beans), and cute little stunted carrots that could only push so far down into the clay.

Fishing was his major hobby. Going through old photos to make up a montage for his memorial, we found about 50% of pictures we had of Dad also featured some quantity of dead fish.

He was a voracious reader, and he remembered just about everything he read. He was a bottomless font of knowledge. When we had questions, he ALWAYS had answers. We thought he was the smartest man in the world.

Dad was the family cook. He had his successes and his failures. Many foods that made me gag when I was a kid, I later found out were quite tasty…as long as Dad wasn’t cooking them. But he could barbecue a heck of a Thanksgiving turkey (picture this in Illinois in November.) Every square inch of counter and cupboard space in his kitchen was crammed with gadgets of every size and description. And when he cooked, it never occurred to him that he should use something, clean it off, and use it again. He had enough back-ups available to grab a clean whatever-it-was. He made a mountain of dishes for even the simplest meal, then he’d get up from the table and relax in front of the TV with a book, while someone ELSE cleaned up.

When I was about 10, he brought home a huge, incredibly heavy blue canvas tent, a Coleman lantern and camp stove, and that was the start of our family camping experience. We made trips to see the grandparents in Oregon, visited Yellowstone and Glacier Parks in the west, did the New England coast one year. He was never happier than when we were out in the woods somewhere, or sampling a bit of the local history of some distant part of the country.

When I was in high school, I knitted him a scarf. He wore that scarf through many subsequent Chicago winters. After several years, I asked him why he still wore that ridiculous ugly scarf I’d made. He said, "It’s warm." It now hangs on the hall tree in my family room. It still smells like him.


  1. Oh still smells like him! What I wouldn't give to draw in a huge breath of my fathers scent. A very touching entry. You clearly adored your did I.

  2. Remembering your dad on the anniversary of his death will allow you to move forward and grasp the life lessions he taught you. Be blessed Sheila

  3. This is great. I like that in your sadness you are able to step back and remember the things about your father that brought you joy.

  4. Your Dad sounds a lot like mine... especially the fishing. But NOT the reading. My Dad preferred crossword puzzles and building models. You could always count on opening the paper to the funnies section and seeing the completed crossword, always in his blocky letters in black felt tip ink.

    We did that collage thing for Dad's service, too, and I am the one assigned to scanning it all, putting on CD for everyone. That's as far into the family genealogy project I'll go!

    ~ Karyn