I have been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to have had him as a father. Not everyone has a dad who is such a loving soul, a friend, a supporter. He was a wonderful person. Everyone who knew him would agree. Its funny too, how you remember someone dear after they are gone. Its not the big life events that are with me everyday--its the littlest details. Here are some things that have been on my mind lately:
- Dad always had dry skin and his hands were so rough. He hated lotion and it would be a battle to get him to put something so "greasy" on his hands. If he gave you a hug, or brushed his hand on your knee or shoulder, it would make a scratchy sound. I think about this when I rub Lacey's back when she is wearing a fleece PJ and I hear my dry hands making that sound too.
- Dad's car was his office, he drove a lot for work. He would get very irritated with repetitive sounds--change clinking in the tray in the car, a plastic bottle rattling in the cup holder. He also had a very elaborate nail clipper with scissors, tweezers, etc. in his car. Apparently hangnails were annoying as well.
- My father loved to watch football, dressed in his around the house uniform--a sweatshirt, jeans and slippers. He also loved cooking shows and when I was growing up (i.e. before HGTV) This Old House.
- Dad always enjoyed a cocktail after 4pm, when he was done driving for the day. A southern comfort manhattan. He would drink some, then add some ice. Often more than once. I used some leftover southern comfort I had for my candied yams this thanksgiving. They kicked ass. Its weird, but the sound of the ice in a glass--the "clink clink" reminds me of him.
- Thanksgiving was always my father's favorite holiday (mine too). He always made corn chowder to start the meal. My dairy allergy prevents me from carrying out this tradition. After I moved away from home, Dad and I always tried to get together around Thanksgiving b/c both of our birthdays are in November. He helped me pull off my very first Thanksgiving dinner in my studio apartment in Chicago--the one with the kitchen the size of an airplane's kitchen. We always braved the crowds together the next day and did Black Friday Shopping. He would hold the bags and run them out to the car (and probably sneak a cigarette--damn addiction).
- Dad loved soup, any kind, but especially clam chowder. In fact, he loved shellfish--shrimp, clams, crab, lobster, oysters, scallops. Dad loved to snack--cheese and crackers, crab dip, shrimp cocktail.
Last year, we celebrated the holidays with a bit of sadness, as it was the first year without Dad. This year, I feel happier--it is less raw I suppose, but I feel very focused on remembering him in a very specific way and I also am overwhelmed with gratitude for the person he was and how lucky I am to have had him for my father.