June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day, Dad

Dad,

Over the past few weeks I've received dozens of emails - at last count around 75 - having something to do with Father's Day.  Ranging from creative spam (Dad's day Cialis) to retail frenzy (buy this! no buy THIS!) to messages from politicians (the best was short & sweet from Governor Andrew Cuomo), they started arriving just around Memorial Day, about the time we would have been cleaning up from a cookout.

With you being gone (five years now), at first I found them all to be intrusive, and deleted most without even reading them. After all, none of them really fit my situation: what do to for Father's Day when your Dad is gone.  But as it got further into June, I started looking at them a little differently.

As I read the emails from hardware stores and sporting goods stores and home improvement stores and clothing stores and on and on, I was taken back to when I was a kid and going through the 'find the right Father's Day present' angst. I'm sure Mom remembers those days too!

I only remember on one present I ever gave you for this occasion. And no, it wasn't a tie, but that doesn't mean I didn't give you some over the years -- you had so many, all so very wide and colorful that if I were to guess, I suspect I may have had a hand in some of them. You were kind enough to wear even the most 'special' ones to school.

Once I became an adult, our Father's Day celebrations were cookouts or dinner at my house, with as many family gathered as possible; you and Mom would come over, the boys and usually some of your grandkids, and there'd be that buzzing, bubbling sound of family, people picking on each other and reminiscing and laughing too loudly about silly little things.

And there was always the US Open, around which I had to plan dinner.

I remember one year (after My Sweet Baboo and I got together) when everyone was out in the garden, playing croquet, taking pictures, looking for toads and bugs, except you.  You were inside, bowl of oyster crackers on the coffee table, cocktail in hand, watching the golf.  I remember asking Mom what was wrong, and her telling me there was nothing wrong, you were enjoying Father's Day. 

It was hard for me to understand how sitting by yourself watching golf while your whole family gathered outside was 'enjoyment' for you, but I learned to live with it, over the years, and remember coming in and sitting with you, with my glass of wine, watching Phil and Ernie and all the rest, and of course that darn Tiger Woods in his red shirt.  Together on the couch, with quiet conversation or sometimes just companionable silence, we enjoyed the time, until I had to go stir something or turn something or head back outside to see what was going on. You'd give my arm a squeeze, "OK Diz, see you in a little bit," and off I'd go, leaving you with a smile (and taking mine with me).

I'm thinking this morning that nothing would make me happier than to be able to sit and watch golf with you, or plan dinner around a sudden death playoff. And I'm remembering that one very special Father's Day present.  It was a little resin statue of a man which was popular at the time.  He'd be dressed for different occasions, or different sports, with cute sayings on them.  In this one, he might have had a water bottle on his head or something, don't remember that part exactly, but I do remember what it said.

I Love You So Much It Hurts.

Happy Father's Day.