What My Father Gave Me

BLOG-pontchartrian beach exteriorWell, I did it again. Here I am posting a Father’s Day post two days after Father’s Day just as I posted my Mother’s Day post two days after Mother’s Day.

And that’s a good thing this time because (and I mean this in a loving way) my parents are competitive.

If I talk to one longer than the other on the phone, the one who gets less phone time feels slighted. If my sister’s call reaches them first on a birthday, I know about it.

It’s all done in good fun. A kind of game. With my dad, everything is a game.

Throughout my childhood, he played with my brother and me: pillow fights, Marco Polo, football.

He made long car rides fun because like a game show host, he’d ask us questions, and keep score, “How do you spell BOULEVARD?” “What were the names of the ships Columbus sailed to America on?”

He didn’t play board games like Monopoly or Life.

No, he played Hide and Go Seek and Cops and Robbers: anything that got our adrenalin going.

He took me to Pontchartrain Beach and we rode on the Zephyr.

He took me on a helicopter, a motorcycle and to a shooting range.

(I blame my father completely for my marriage to the kind of man who would take me hiking, without a guide, into backcountry Canada, where we were face- to- face with a  grizzly bear.)

How does that happen?

Okay, that’s a different blog post.

Back to my father.

When I was 4, my father took me to buy a pumpkin for Halloween. I chose a perfectly formed bright orange one. My father picked up a misshapen one and said, “What about this one? Nobody else is going to take this one home.”

And so we did.

I’d like to think that was a lesson learned, that showing sensitivity to a pumpkin shaped me somehow, the beginning of empathy.

Like many children, I was afraid at bedtime. Often, my father would snuggle with me in bed and tell me stories, the most dramatic, far-out stories imaginable.

That’s how he soothed me. Stories.

And that’s how I soothe myself today. Stories are an essential part of my life, listening to them and telling them and writing them.

They are my entertainment and my savior.

My dad is also the number one best back scratcher on the planet!

My mom—not so much.

She cups her hand on my back and keeps opening and closing it in the same spot until it feels like her fingers are going to draw blood.

Dad— That’s a way you’ve got mom beat—by a long shot!

BLOG- FATHER'S DAY