For father’s day I will tell a tale,
of the man who tries hard without fail.
He has an artist flare and a linguist tongue,
he cures the back and is a proprietor for fun.
His father left when he was ten,
a father’s love that never began.
That father dropped by once, out of the blue,
no one knows why and why we never knew.
He worries a lot and pisses off a few,
some friends for life but only those who’ve paid their dues.
So much to do when he was young,
but there was always time to camp, and fish and run.
He has a hearty laugh and can tell a tale,
he knows everyone in town and can make a sale.
He can build a house and a make a home,
just never ask about the unfinished zone.
He has traveled far and near
enjoys his food and likes a Stella beer.
Always a friend to sweets,
tiramisu is a favorite treat.
A day with dad I’ll always remember,
we fished all day at the rivers edge one cold September.
No work for him, no school for me,
a lovely memory it will forever be.
I was recently waiting for my plane to board at the Omaha airport and overheard a little boy who was maybe 7 or 8 speaking to his mother on the phone while he and his dad were waiting for their flight to depart.
He spoke to his mom about the usual things; “We saw a boat,” “We drove really far,” “Dad bought me a toy” and “We just ate a cheese burger and fries.” But then he asked his mom about his dog, Cooper, was his name. “Where is Cooper?” he asked. Then he asked the cutest thing; “Mom can you put the phone near him so that he could hear him snore“. He was quite for a few moments, apparently listening to his dog snore, and then he spoke again; “It’s nice to know I’ve got a dog waiting for me at home” “He’s going to jump all over me“. He giggled a little and then said “Okay, bye” and hung up the phone.
It was so touching to hear his voice change when he spoke about his beloved Cooper; getting a little bit quiet with a giant smile on his face. I don’t know what kind of dog Cooper is, but in my mind he is a frenchie like my Maddie(pictured above) because there is no sweeter sound than her happy resting snore and no one I am happier to come home too(well besides my husband, of course).
Fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers,
the unchosen companions not available to others.
Love and laughter, disappointment and tears,
still driving you nuts after all these years.
They know us at our worst and at our best,
and so often put our patience to the test.
Sometimes we hate, yell and can’t relate,
and always regret that wretched date.
The for better or worse choice was mine,
still it came with a judgment and a diatribe.
We all can get lost in lovers, jobs and friends,
but with luck and love they will be there at the end.
Shared memories and momentous fights,
often taken for granted and at times a blight.
Affections tested and a trust that can not abate,
a bond that if not tended sometimes breaks.
Quickly forgiven, but never forgotten,
we gode and complain and sometimes are rotten.
We defend with a vengeance and chide and deride,
those unchosen companions on lifes crazy ride.
I was lucky enough to have 4 amazing women in my life, both of my parents mothers and two of my parents grandmothers(besides my mother of course) that helped make me the woman I am today. I learned many things from each of the women;
From my great-grandmother Kate (my mother’s grandmother) I gained an appreciation for music and dancing from watching hours of the Lawrence Welk show with her in her big white leather recliner. My first memory of being empathetic to someone comes from her as well. I was spending the night with her and she was up on the end of the bed coughing, I got up and put my bathrobe around her shoulders and patted her back. I was maybe 4 at the time.
From my great-grandmother Anne (my dads grandmother) who I unfortunately knew for the shortest period of time I gained a love of shortbread cookies, admiration for hard work(she worked in our families plumbing business until well into her 80’s) and a giggle inside whenever I hear someone refer to a child as a wee one, because she always laughed and smiled when her wee ones visited her at her home or in later years in the rest home.
From my grandmother Jean (my dad’s mom), who was one of the most elegant and beautiful women I have ever met; I learned to play chinese checkers, love green peppers and received my first bottle of perfume(Charlie by Revlon).
From my grandmother Buddy (my mom’s mom) who I was so lucky to have in my life the longest I learned; to play Gin Rummy and Cribbage, to pour a drink, to make potato salad and love blue cheese. I flew on my first airplane with her and my rode on my first train. She helped me with my golf game, worried about my love life and always rode my ass about things I was doing wrong.
I really wish I could ask them so many questions, but here are ten I would love ask:
1.) What brought you the most joy in life?
2.) Who was the love of your life?
3.) What regrets do you have if any?
4.) When and where were you the happiest?
5.) What did you enjoy most and least about your occupations? (All of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers had jobs outside the home at one time or another)
6.) What advice would you give me now to live a happier and fuller life?
7.) What would you tell me to quit worrying about?
8.) Who was your first boyfriend, your first lover, your first kiss?
9.) How do you make this dish? (each of them had a specialty and unfortunately I only have a couple of the recipes)
10.) What part of you do you see in me?
If you have special people in your life, ask the questions now don’t wait until it’s too late.
If you have lost someone special in your life, are there questions you wish you had asked?
Do you ever beat yourself up for things you have said or done? I do, all of the time. It’s usually because of a smart ass comment I’ve made in a meeting that I meant to be funny and people did laugh. But then, afterward, I worry, was someone offended? When the joke isn’t at my own expense, I hope I picked a target with a sense of humor and a willingness to play along. But still, sometimes it nags at me and I feel like I should track the person down and apologize.
I am a smart-ass from way back. I think, quite possibly, I came out of the womb with a raised eyebrow at my mother asking what took her so long. When I came out of my shell, in junior highschool, I might have been considered one of the class clowns; always popping off with something to get a laugh or reaction.
I also constantly use humor, self-depreciation or a silly comment to try to deflect from a difficult situation or when conflict arises between other people or when god-forbid someone gives me a compliment. I think it stems from spending my formative years in a house with a lot of conflict, with parents that spelled swear words at each other. I’m not sure if their thinking was that it would protect my vocabulary because they spelled out F-U-C-K-E-R at each other rather than said the word. But, fucker is actually one of the first words I learned to spell. I spelled it out for my grandpa’s neighbor, Mr. Fox, he was not impressed. I was immediately marched home and exposed. My grandmother laughed when he told her what I was spelling and I was told to go outside and play.
An environmental impact from my youth that continues to afflict me today!
Are you afflicted with anything?
The changes to places, I don’t really mind.
But the changes to faces, oh I really do mind.
Lost are the theater, the restaurant and the park,
but not those who’ve touched my heart.
Faces change with lines and crinkles,
everyone faces the inevitable wrinkle.
But the soul of youth remains,
no matter how many things change.
Our bodies pop, creak and slow down,
some mornings are sore to the bone.
My mind says young, but my back says old,
never more than when I’m on my own.
The playgrounds of youth are a subdivision,
the grade school unrecognizable with my vision.
But the friends who’ve known me at my worst,
are still the friends who love me without derision.
Yes, the changes to places are fine,
but the changes to faces are so unkind.
To those I’ve lost or who’ve left me behind,
you’ll always live on in love in my mind.
A friend of mine was recently in the hospital and is now home recovering for a few weeks. She posted a request on Facebook for some suggested reads while she recovers and this got me thinking about some of my favorite books. So I looked through my library to pick out a few to recommend to my friend and thought I would start sharing some of them on my blog as well.
It was very difficult to pick my first one, there are so many favorites and then there are always the classics on everyones top 100 list. I picked the first one I recommended to my friend, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel.
I first read this book riding the commuter bus back and forth from Everett, Washington to downtown Seattle while I was working for one of the Big 5 consulting firms. I was laughing out loud on the bus at some of the passages and a couple times holding back tears. I loaned my copy to at least 4 of my fellow riders and have since purchased at least a half dozen as gifts for my girlfriends.
Ms. Kimmels memoir about growing up in a small town in Indiana is full of some of the funniest stories of childhood. Some of them that felt like they were from my own childhood diary.
“Besides having my hair problem and my face problem and teeth too big, and besides being always the tallest, skinniest girl in my class, I had what my sister called ” the unfortunate situation” of being deformed. Most clothes that we bought in a store came in sets, and if the shirt fit me even reasonably well, the pants were too short. We had tried buying the sets with the pants the right length, which meant my mom had to take in the waist, and the shirt fell right off my shoulders. I was thinking maybe the solution would be to find the girl who was deformed exactly the opposite of me, and we could share. ”
And this passage about having to get up and get dressed to go to an Easter service cracked me up;
“I grumbled out of bed and stood shivering next to the coal stove. I was instantly cold in the way that causes the spine to shrink up. In desperation, I put my forehead against the black enamel stove and burned it, just a little. Then I tried to straighten up, but failed, I scrunched over again, put my forehead against the stove, and burned it. After I did it the third time I had no choice but to look at my father.
“You want to just open the door and stick your head inside?” he said, with his harms till crossed.
“Daddy. Are you going to get me out of this, yes or no.”
There are just so many great little stories that will definitely resonate with you if you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s like me. I can’t say enough wonderful things about “A Girl Named Zippy” – just read it!
What’s one of your favorite books?