Thursday, December 31, 2015

In which I think about the things I wish I had done differently with my father, whom I loved so, so much and who died way before he should have and who should have lived until 81 instead of Sly living until that age

It is exactly 18 years since my dad died. Here are the things I wish I could have done differently:

1. Tried tomatoes with salt and pepper instead of sugar when he told me they tasted good that way.

2. Believed him when he said tomatoes taste different depending on how you slice them. Of course he was absolutely right - the ratios of skin to pulp change and necessarily affect flavor.

3. Gone down to his workshop to listen to the radio with him when he asked. Why didn't I spend time with him when I could have? Why?

4. Not rolled my eyes at the idea of my mom and his buying an RV to travel around the country.

5. Not been ashamed my sophomore year of college after he had retired from the Air Force at the age of 49 and gone back to school to get his teacher certification and had gotten a job at Wal-Mart for extra cash. My college friends' dads were VPs at F100 companies and my dad was working at Wal-Mart. I am ashamed of being ashamed. Honest work is honest work.

6. Gotten up early to hit the Rochester Minnesota thrift shops with him. I lived with my mom and dad for a few months after I got back from the Peace Corps. This was when they were in Minnesota. My dad would get up early - like 5 a.m. - to swim laps at the gym, then come home and want to hang out with me. I would get cranky and tell him I wanted to sleep. I wish I could go back to my 30 year old self and warn myself that my dad would be dead within two years and to take all the time I possibly could with him.

7. Sat next to him to watch Hill Street Blues, which he really liked.

8. I think he liked Law and Order, too, although I might be remembering wrong - was that on 18 years ago?

9. Gone bike riding with him.

10. Told him how much I loved him and how lucky I was to have such a great dad. I hope he knew that's how I felt. I think I told him that. I hope I did. I knew even then how lucky I was and I for sure know now, now that I have seen what a bad father looks like.

14 comments:

  1. It's a real testimony to your dad that you feel this way 18 years after his passing. He must have been a wonderful man.

    I've been reading around in your archives since becoming a regular follower of your blog and enjoying them so much!

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    1. Thank you so much. My dad was a wonderful man and so many people miss him. I feel very lucky to have had a dad like him.

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  2. Don't beat yourself up. He knew you were a teenager young adult / different stage of life. He also wouldnt take any crap from anybody trying to judge you and your relationship. Again, because he knew you loved him. I firmly believe, that the best die young. I don't believe that the rest of us are necessarily bad. But, if you have the chance to spend time with the best of us how long would you wait? Remember the times that were the funnest for you with your dad. Remember the times that were the best for you with your family with your mom and Primo.

    (Also,it's New Year 's Eve, so I may be a little more emphatic than is called for. There may be wine involved. )

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  3. you can be sure he knew how much you loved him. Better to dwell on the things that you two liked to do together, than on the missed opportunities - the good memories, not the missing ones. HNY!

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    1. I hope so, webb. I hope there is a heaven because I really want to see him again and I want him to hear when I talk to him now.

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  4. Happy new year, Goldie! Listing all of these memories is a great testament, I'm sure he knew you were paying attention even when you didn't go along with everything.

    So what were his thoughts on slicing tomatoes? I love grinding salt and pepper onto fresh tomato slices, but I always slice them the easy way, vertically, with the stem down.

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    1. I just have to say that I love your pseudonym.

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    2. Happy new year to you, too, Cosmic Avenger! (And to everyone else!) He cut them into wedges, saying that was the best way to get an even distribution of skin, flesh, and seeds.

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    3. Hm, I'll have to try that once they're in season again. I have a really nice alderwood smoked salt that is great on tomatoes.

      And thanks, Alison, and welcome!

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  5. I've never commented before after finding you through Captain Awkward and reading all your archives (I'm not a stalker, I promise) but I have to comment on this post to agree with the previous commenters. I'm sure your dad knew you loved him. He sounds like such an amazing man (in all your posts about him, not just this one). My FIL also died young, at 59, of cancer. My husband and I both miss him terribly. I hate that my 13 year old barely remembers him and my 10 year old never saw him (I was pregnant when FIL died). Anyway, at least my huband loves my family and vice versa. I'm sorry you and Primo didn't have that consolation. I'm glad you have each other.

    Oh, and please promise you will keep writing even though Sly and Doris are no longer around to annoy y'all! Or I think you said you have another blog--if you stop writing here, please let us know where we can find you! I love your stories and sense of humor!

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  6. *husband. Oh, the shame of a (former) English teacher who didn't proofread.

    And also, apparently once I comment, I can't stop. Sorry to blow up your comments section!

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    1. Are you kidding?! I LOVE COMMENTS! It is such a wonderful feeling to be read. And nope - I don't think I will run out of material. :)

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Primo reads this blog, so please keep that in mind in your comments.