Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hi Friends,

It's a holiday weekend, and I hope you are all at a picnic eating hot dogs and potato salad. I am an 80% vegetarian, so I'd be happy to join you in a potato salad fest, plus ice tea and maybe a brownie or two. You can have my hot dog though. Happy Memorial Day and weekend to all of you!

I'm spending the day writing about the things I feel passionate about, such as my family, home and the good life, the world economy healing, my fellow humans feeling safe and fulfilled, beautiful objects, flowers, painting, Haiku, my favorite books, and oh yes, Father's Day. Well, that's an ambitious list. No, I'm not going to write about all of that. Maybe I'll just write about two of the things on the list.

You didn't forget Father's Day, did you? Don't forget Dad on June 20th. It's rapidly approaching.

I think I want to talk a little bit about fathers right now. Dads are so often neglected, even more so than moms sometimes.

I don't care how old you are, every little girl's secret hero is her dad. My dad passed away when I was very little, but my memory of him is as clear as if he were present today.

My dad was the strong, silent type. He was tall and lanky and he played the piano like a dream. He and my mom were an elegant couple. I remember the parties at our house. My talented Mom prepared a buffet fit for royalty. She was a serious cook, who approached entertaining in a way that has become a lost art in recent years. Mom's presentation would rival Martha Stewart. And Dad was a reliable fixture, stationed at his piano, taking requests from all the guests. I remember my parent's friends, accompanied by my father at the piano, would sing their favorite oldies from the 40's and some show tunes and this went on for hours, well after midnight. I remember thinking it was so cool that they were allowed to stay up that late. They all seemed very grown up to me, old even. I thought they were ancient. I have to laugh because many of them were much younger than I am now. Is that the way I appear to my nieces and nephews? Hmmmm, probably. Back to my dad. Dad always knew how to fix everything. If anything went wrong, Dad knew how to fix it. He was a builder, so he could take down walls and windows and reconstruct rooms in our house with seemingly little effort. Although he relinquished kitchen duty to Mom most of the time, there are a few things Dad was famous for inventing. One was pancakes that would float off the plate. Another was a secret steak sauce that was so darn good, it became a generational staple in our family's cooking repertoire. It is so good, in fact, that K and I use it on fresh tuna. We don't eat meat, but I would use Dad's steak sauce on cardboard and love every bit of it. Dad was good at improvising everything: food, music, and more. Dad came to life in a hurricane. When we lost our power source, Dad had his own power source. The boy scout in him came out. Mom loved telling the story of Dad baking the best cake she ever had in an old coal stove, during a hurricane. He did it only once though. Dad could hear a piece of music just once, and go to the piano and play it. Is that even normal, I wonder? My quiet, hard working Dad was very strict about our speech and insisted that we always be polite. My sisters and I became accustomed to Dad correcting our English whenever we made a grammatical error. And we were constantly reminded to say "please" and "thank you". As I am telling you these stories, so many remembrances of my dad are flooding in.

Dad may not be here right now, but he is indelible in my memory and forever embedded deep in my heart.

Thanks for indulging my thoughts of my father.

If you're a dad, I wish you a Happy Father's Day. If you have a dad, I wish him a Happy Father's Day.

Cheers, Joan


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