My Dad is a friendly, quiet, gentle man. I am blessed to have him as an example in my life. Because he is quiet he sometimes slips into the background of a scene. He likes it there. I wonder if he realizes that even from the background he has given so much and created so many fun and happy memories where he has touched my life.
As a little girl, not long out of the orphanage, I knew he was so strong. I recall how he tirelessly knew I pretended to be asleep after a long night at the VFW. He played along and would carry me from the car to my room. He seemed to know that I needed a Daddy’s arms to carry me at times. I remember the smell of his cologne – Old Spice. To this day I love that classic scent. He never complained or let on. I didn’t know he knew I wasn’t sleeping until I was older and my mom would chuckle about it.
And he has a fun sense of humor – it can sneak up on you and surprise you sometimes, especially if he’s playing cards or a game. I remember how he always liked to play a trick on my mom when he’d give her Christmas gifts. He was forever sending her on a treasure hunt by hiding part of her gift (like one of the slippers or the handle of the skillet) it was silly fun but a great childhood memory.
When I was a teenager he faithfully attended the Father-Daughter dances at my school. I’m sure it was not on his list of things he’d been dying to do but he still seemed to have a good time with the other dads. And he’d always dance a few slow dances with me. He bought me a corsage and would take me to dinner – like a real date. He was always a gracious example of a gentleman. He still is.
And while he has never been heard raising his voice, he certainly has the strength of his tone to let me know I crossed a line. In my youth I was foolish enough to swear in front of him once. He looked at me with a look I had never seen before or since and vowed if he ever heard that in his house again he surely would turn me over his lap and spank me. That was all it took – just that look and those words and I assure you the threat never had to come to pass. It was the only time I actually saw my Dad angry and I knew he meant it.
And now, in retirement, he is such a wonderful grandpa. He spends time, tirelessly playing games with my niece or showing her all his gardening tips. He’s still the “big kid” that used sit with me and laugh at Scooby-Doo while we ate cereal on the living room floor. And it is sweet how my Dad shows his love for my Mom in many everyday and mundane ways. He is forever a servant leader in our family. It is clear that their vows are still alive. He is patient, even in the constant dishes he washes to help her with her home bakery business. He takes delight in hunting down the good deals at the stores for her supplies. He mans the money-box at the farmer’s market so she can chat and sell her yummy treats. I love to watch their partnership and see how much they love each other in what they do and how they look at each other.