Today is the 3rd Father's Day since my Dad died, and surprisingly, it's been the hardest one yet for me. I miss talking to my Dad and getting a response. (I still talk to him all the time, but he doesn't hold up his end of the conversation very well!) Here are some random memories of the things we did and talked about and that I still tell him about, even now.
1. Gardening. He started me growing things when I was maybe 5, with my own patch of radishes and a little garden of zinnias. I still grow both every summer. Each year we competed to see who's have ripe tomatoes first; it was never really a competition because Texas gets warm sooner and his tomatoes set fruit months before mine did. We discussed favorite varieties, cages or not, upside planters.
2. Work. Daddy always told me I'd have a job when I grew up, after I went to college of course. He took great interest in whatever work I did, and we had a lot of fun touring the oil company data center together after that became my career path. He was proud of my work, and never ever let me forget it. He was also interested in my college courses, and we had long discussions every time I changed majors - which happened a lot, and which caused it to take 8 years for me to graduate. We talked lots about what I was learning, and why it was important to never stop learning.
3. Knitting! Daddy didn't knit, but he was intrigued by knitting as an art and a craft, as well as a hobby. He understood the engineering and math behind knitting before I did, and was fascinated to see a sweater grow as we chatted and watched football. (I've realized lately that my reluctance to work on some almost finished and languishing projects may be because that's what I worked on the last time I saw my Dad; I don't want that connection to end.)
4. House projects. He loved the house Ken and I bought, and we talked about the various projects - gardening, new garage doors, new fences, eventually refinishing the hardwood floors, painting. As a kid, he always let me help with household projects, and trips to the hardware store were incredibly special.
5. Men I dated. Daddy always thought I should have let him choose my husband, and I finally got to tell him he was right! He didn't like my first 2 husbands, and they were nothing like him. He loved Ken, Ken loved him, and they are so much alike. I guess maybe some of us really do marry our Dad!
6. Flying. When I started flying lessons, Daddy wouldn't talk about it at all. Mother finally told me he was afraid I'd have an accident and die. After several years (and a fortuitous conversation with an old classmate who was a professional pilot) he showed interest, and we'd decided to go flying together the next time I visited.
7. Fishing. Daddy and I went fishing - just the 2 of us - a few times a year starting when I was 5 or 6. He loved taking us kids fishing, even though it usually meant he didn't get to fish because he was so busy taking our fish off hooks and rebaiting them for us! When I was walking down the aisle for my first wedding, Daddy stopped me halfway and asked if I really wanted to do this because "we can go fishing instead". Probably should have!
8. Sewing. I still sew on the machine Mother and Daddy gave me for my 19th birthday. Daddy could engineer the most beautiful buttonholes with that machine, and it took me years to make good ones. He'd learned to sew in high school and college and was a whiz at reupholstering furniture and such. I learned the principles from him, and thank him every time I sit down at my old faithful machine to mend a seam, tailor a suit or upholster a chair.
9. Putting food by. Daddy loved to pick fresh veggies and freeze them. We used to pick gunny sacks full of black-eyed peas, shell them and he and Mother would blanch and freeze them. He and Mother created the recipe for okra pickles that I still use (for any veggie I want to pickle) and he was justifiably proud of it. We discussed the merits of making jelly, jam, preserves and conserves, and the differences of each. He praised my plum butter and insisted it was as good as his aunts always made.
10. Friends. Daddy had friends everywhere and was constantly running into people he knew. His oldest friends dated back to junior high and high school! They'd kept in touch for close to 70 years! He met his oldest work friend in 1952, and they were friends forever. He was interested in our friends and kept up with many of my junior high and high school friends long after the friendships had faltered due to distance and life changes.
Happy Father's Day to my awesome Dad, and also to my brothers, who are awesome Dads too. Love you lots!