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.

Father(-in-law)’s Day

Father’s Day is an incredibly tough day when you don’t have your dad anymore.

Instead of appreciating the other fatherly men in my life, I find myself getting sad and returning to the grief . I’ve found myself even becoming envious of others who still have their fathers.

And that’s wrong.

I was blessed to have 22 years with my dad. That may be less time than many have but it is more time than others have had. Instead of wallowing in feeling like a fatherless child this year, I’m acknowledging that I miss my dad but that I had more than two decades of his wisdom, teaching, humor and care. His love stays with me.

Just like I have lots of great women in my life, I have a lot of great men, who happen to be fathers who are there for me when I need “dad” stuff.

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, I’d like to tell you about my father-in-law in today’s Friday Five:

My Father-In-Law (aka Dad K)

1. The new daughter story.

Brad’s dad is navigating having a “daughter” pretty well. Having raised two boys before I ended up in the picture nearly 8 years ago, girl stuff can be foreign to him sometimes. From noticing a new hairstyle, saying “cool boots!” and complimenting a dress without knowing what the color is called (“coral”), he’s gotten the hang of fashion observation.

He occasionally reads my blog and comments (in person) on my refashion projects and other crafty things. He even helped with a wedding DIY project! I wanted to make special hanger for my dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses. So he drilled holes in the wooden hangers for me and helped secure the wire. (You can see that project on the Bridal Buds blog, where I had a previous life as a wedding blogger)

2. The car stories. 

Dad K stepped in long before the “in-law” status was achieved when I needed someone. One time, my own dad was hospitalized while out of town for a conference. During the time my parents were gone, the brakes on good old Sputter went out. Brad’s dad crawled underneath of my car to check out the severity of the failure and the  feasibility of fixing them. That was also the end of the line for Sputter as a road-worthy car.

He’s also willing to help anyone who needs it car shop. He helped me find a dependable vehicle that saw me through many road trips and long work commutes.

3. The health stories. Continue reading

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

The Bow Tie

For nearly as long as I can remember, my dad would comment on how cool it would be to have a REAL bow tie. He once said that he thought being able to tie a bow tie was a skill that classy men had and seemed to be a dying art.

My dad didn’t own a bow tie when I was a kid. As my dad’s 50th birthday approached (January 28, 2011) I was in full-scale wedding planning mode and decided that I wanted to give my dad that opportunity to be the man in the tuxedo, tying a real, bow tie.

I searched a few stores and ended up in the men’s department at Macy’s. They had a wide selection of bow ties, including the classic, black satin bow tie. The cashier asked me while ringing up the bow tie, “does he know how to tie this?” He didn’t know who it was for, what it meant or any of the back story but I answered, “He will.”

Dad’s surprise party 50th birthday party had to be changed from a surprise party in Ohio to a planned party at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania because my dad’s cancer treatments were taking a toll on him, making travel tough. For his birthday, I gave my dad his bow tie and a link to a how to video on YouTube.

I’ll never forget that smile when he opened his bowtie

A week or so after his birthday, I received an email from my dad with several in-progress photos of him tying the bow tie. Continue reading