Father’s Day – I guess for most people this is a great day. For my kids it’s a great day and they have a great dad to celebrate about. A friend posted on facebook about changing your profile photo to one of you and your dad. Got me to thinking. Got me to wondering. Got me to looking for photos. The last photo that I have of my dad was taken in 1990 when I was on the brink of 19. Way before digital. Way before capturing memories could take place on a phone, or a computer, or a pad. Way before it was so easy to keep memories close and forget to cherish them. Way before I knew it would be the last photo.
I have lots of pictures of my dad from when I was small and can’t remember what the picture is about. I still smile. I still chuckle. No tears yet. As we got older, there were less photos. This was directly proportionate to the amount of time he was spending with us which was dwindling rapidly. Some of the photos I found are from our last trip together when I was 16. I honestly don’t remember much about that trip except my grandfather banging his head on a street sign as we trudged up a hill in Lake Placid and my mom out snoring the air conditioner in our room. I don’t remember my dad on that trip at all. And yet he was there. He drove. He was with us. But then again maybe he was already gone. I think I tear up more at these photos because I know how the story ends. I know that I’m coming to the end of the photos.
The last photo taken of me and my dad was actually at his second wedding to the reason he was spending less time with us. I think I burned those photos or tore them up. Had I known then what was going to happen four months later, I probably would have rethought this action. But then again, my temper has been the gift to me from my father that has lasted my whole life. Just the gift that keeps on giving. So in a fit of pique after he died, fueled by anger at the reason he left and the problems she caused after, I’m sure the photos are long gone victims of a match or scissors. I was still too young to realize what I was throwing away. I didn’t know we wouldn’t be able to make any more memories.
We used to make a bit of a fuss about Father’s Day. Cards and small gifts. Special steak dinner. Hugs. Not a lot but just enough to show we cared. And we did. Even when the reason was keeping him away more and more, I still tried to stay in touch. This would again depend on the temper. How much time did I waste having tantrums and refusing to see him or speak to him if the reason was around ? I have to give him props though. Once when I called and ended up hanging up on him, he came down to my work. I remember watching him walk through the mall towards me like a giant banana in his pale yellow leisure suit. It looked better than it sounds I assure you. Dad was always about the style. I seem to recall walking away, that pesky temper making it impossible to back down, but I always remembered that he tried.
So even though I haven’t celebrated Father’s Day for what will be 20 years this weekend, I still think about my dad on that day. I take a moment to pause and peruse and remember what I can. Those photos. Those boxes and albums of memories that I keep. They are all I have left of him. I will shed my tear for his loss. I will smile for the time we did have. And I will forever remember standing on the shore at our friends’ cottage as my naked father came shooting out of the water for a super streak. That’s another gift he gave to me – we’re both a bit wacky. What a nice memory to cherish.
I was going to stop there and then I thought, hmmm… What would my dad have liked for Father’s Day ? Well from what I can remember he was a gadety fellow. He loved the latest and greatest of the newest technology, so if he didn’t already have one I’m sure an iPad would have been good. His camera would have been a top of the line SLR with all the bells and whistles. I’m sure another memory card wouldn’t hurt. He liked wine and made his own for years. I’m sure a new mix or a wine tasting would have been enjoyable. He enjoyed golf and squash and raquetball. As he would have been 70 this past April, I’m sure an icepack or heat pad would have been appreciated. I can’t imagine him ever slowing down. Another gift he gave to me – frenetic energy, always doing six things at once and not really completing any of them. There – now I can end this post with a smile.
I love you Dad. I miss you.
Damn almost made it out …