Candy Memories

You know how there are little things that will always remind you of someone? Like every time I see a greyhound or something with a greyhound on it, I think of my friend Natalie. Whenever I see anchors or nautical-themed things, I think of my cruise-loving mother in law.

When I see certain candies, I think of my dad. My dad was a fan of hard candies. He had four favorite kinds of hard candies: Peppermints, lemon drops, cinnamons and Horehounds (brown candies that have a unique flavor that reminded me of licorice and root beer).

They’re the kind of candies that you find in the paper bag packages at the Cracker Barrel country store. The ones with very distinct and very different flavors. Continue reading

Short a Dad

The timing of everything in my life with Father’s Day is, to say the least, inconvenient. Aside from all sorts of things house/home related, I’m doing things, going places and experiencing moments that I want nothing more than to share with my dad.

My new(ish) staff member is a young man who just moved into his first apartment of his own. His first weekend there, he’d told me of everything he hoped to accomplish before Monday. When Monday came, he shared with me that nothing was completed, he was trying to build a futon. True to the nature of futons, it was giving him trouble. He explained that his dad was going to come over and help him out.

To which I replied, “Dads are great!” There’s nothing wrong with calling in your dad reinforcement, as a 20 (or 30) something.

I’m short a dad. My husband and I depend heavily on my father-in-law when we need help with a “dad” thing. But he’s a little far away. Most of the married couples I know are able to take turns calling in a dad, and sometimes the dads tag-team the problem. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s pretty great.
It makes me a little jealous. My father-in-law is fantastic. But he’s not my dad. I know that I could ask my uncle or my mom’s husband to help out, but it’s different.

My dad solved problems for me, fixed things for me, asked the right questions and gave sound advice.

As we’re going through the process of selling a home that my father never got to see and building a new home that my father will never see, I sometimes think about features that I believe my dad would have liked. When I work on technical projects in the industry that I do, I know that my dad would understand the applications and think they’re cool, without me having to explain why they’re cool. When I travel for work, I find myself in cities he visited for his job and at events like the ones I remember him going to when I was a kid. Even sometimes when I’m sitting with Holmes or Watson on my lap, I think, “Dad would have loved these cats.”

The longer it’s been since we lost my dad, the fewer rough days there are. But some days, like Father’s Day, will always be rough.

Dad Would Have Turned 54

If life had played out a little differently, and cancer hadn’t stolen my father from us when he was 50, today would have turned 54 today.

On “dad days” like today, I try to remember a story about my dad to share. But it’s hard, the sad memories push themselves to the forefront. When I really try to remember things, I think about bow ties and learning to drive stick shift, which aren’t necessarily stories to tell (or ones I haven’t told already). I remember little thinks like the fact that he liked cinnamon Altoids, didn’t drink coffee and wore suspenders. It’s times like these that make me fear losing memories of my dad.

There is a small comfort though in being reminded of him in little things that he likes, like hot apple cider, straw hats, red pick up trucks or the curved arches in my dining room.

For today, that will be enough.

The Ladybug Tie

I recently got an email asking if I’d write about Father’s Day gifts from years past for them to check out. I almost said no, in fact I had a courteous “Thanks, but no thanks,” response ready to send, then I read their email again. If you’re a regular reader, you know that Father’s Day is a little rough for me.

When I re-read the email, it brought the only Father’s Day gift that I actually remember to mind, and they weren’t asking me to write about them, they wanted to read about my dad… so I thought, “Why not?” I like writing about my dad. [Posts about my dad.]

I have to preface this by saying it was the 90s. We got this vest pattern for me that my mom sewed. It was red and white checked with a picnic theme and cute flower buttons. The fabric kit included a length of green and white patterned fabric with a line of large ladybugs, maybe a bit more than an inch in diameter. I think it was for some sort of back vest tie that we didn’t use on my vest. (I wish I had a picture!)

Father’s Day was coming around and my sister and I had the idea to make our dad a tie with that fabric. (I’m not real clear in my memory if my brother was also involved in that decision…)

Amateur artist’s rendering of the tie

At that point in time, my dad was back in school to become a pastor and he wore ties regularly. I really liked his ties for some reason, probably the materials and patterns and I remember playing with his ties while mom was putting away laundry in their room.

Our mom encouraged the project by giving us one of dad’s old ties that had a stain on the front and wasn’t going to be worn anymore. There wasn’t enough ladybug fabric to cover the whole tie, so we just put it on the front part with the ladybugs down the middle of the tie. We had to have presented him with the tie before Father’s Day or on Father’s Day morning because when we headed to church on Father’s Day, dad was wearing the ladybug tie.  Continue reading

My dad

Father’s Day was a little rough. My father has been in the hospital for two weeks now. I thought about him all day, but we didn’t go visit. When I called, he didn’t feel much like talking.

My dad is quite a man and he’s been through a lot. When my dad was 16, he lost his own father. Even though he never really talked about losing his dad, I know that in many ways, it affected how he related to all three of his children.

When I first learned how to drive, he decided that I should at least know how to drive a stick shift vehicle. He took me for a drive in my brother’s little 5-speed car. We left our neighborhood and kind of went exploring on back roads where I could practice shifting gears, stopping, starting, etc. He didn’t have a clue where we were, and neither did I, when all of a sudden we came around a curve and were headed down a steep, curvy road that made me panic. He took a hold of the gearshift and said, “clutch when I tell you to.” So I clutched and he shifted from the passenger seat until we were back on normal roads.

Continue reading