I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday and that all the fathers are being recognized in some way today.
My father has been gone for many years but I think of him all the time. I have a picture of him on my dresser that I talk to every once in a while and like to think he might be listening. Our relationship was complicated and definitely had it’s difficult moments but I find the good times are what I remember most.
My father knew how to enjoy life. He was in some ways like a kid always busy with his next adventure. His demeanour was not like a kid in that he always held himself like a real adult, was firm and strong and was not really a funny or humorous man. He was the father figure kind, giving advice and teaching what he thought was important about the serious part of life, but he also showed us the many fun things there were to enjoy in life and shared them with us. His lectures weren’t fun but now I understand what he was trying to do and it makes me smile because I find I am somewhat the same. Some of his lectures would last for hours. He was always trying to mould you into what he thought you should be for your own sake and prevent you from turning into his worst fears. I know I disappointed him many times. Unfortunate for him I was in many ways like him–strong and with my own mind. But he also had a gentler side like the endless stories about when he was a little girl. I’d say “dad really…” but he continued on with the story and I heard every funny and interesting word.
He loved sailing, the feel of the wind and the spray of the misty water on his face, the sound of the water, the flapping of the sails and the lack of people and mechanical sounds. He used to talk about this to me on the boat. I still have a clear image of his face when we were out on his sailboat, at moments his eyes closed, breathing in the experience with every part of his being. Of course as well he went over all the details of sailing and the importance of safety with me, and then put the control of the sails in my hands so that I would learn properly–he did this with everything. He was my dad. As usual for me I pretended to be interested and paying attention. In reality I was happiest with him in control so that I could close my eyes too and just feel the experience, letting him worry about safety and the other details. It was that quiet time when we were both feeling the boat being pulled across the water effortlessly by a warm gust of wind caught in the sails that pulls me close to him.
I remember when I was around nine talking to him about how I’d love to be able to fly a plane. Of course this was something that interested him as well. He had always wanted to fly but by the time he got around to it his heart was not well enough for him to get a license. Because I had expressed interest in flying he ended up going to the trouble of finding someone who had a small plane and arranged for us to go flying. Again, I remember his face amazed at the experience himself, up above the world looking down, pointing out to me how little every thing was from up there and what did I think. Talking about how an even greater experience would be in a glider without the sound of the engine, how we should do this, maybe even have one some day. Of course he always took the time to explain some of the dangers that I should pay attention to and at the same time assuring me that of course we were safe at that moment. I was busy thinking about how I’d like to be flying the plane and pleasing my father at the same time. I loved being with him!
Then there was the camping trip I still go on about every so often–and will now-haha. I have two older brothers that went on that camping trip with my dad as well. My father didn’t really want me to go because he thought I would be a problem, wouldn’t like the real camping experience– after all I was a girl. To him me being a girl meant that there was a problem when it came to things like camping. But my parents were separated and it was my time to be with my dad and so along with my brothers I went. Knowing that he didn’t really want me to be there only made me more determined to prove him wrong. It turned out that my one brother got sick (stroke of luck) and the other wined all the time. When my father cooked the fish I caught with him, no-one ate it but my father and I. So of course this made him very proud of his little girl who was as he said “a real trooper”. He often told the story to people whenever the opportunity presented itself. I took over the story after he was gone.
My father loved doing so many things and always included us kids. He took us skiing in the winter and we went camping and horseback riding in the summer. At some point he got interested in go-carts so he built a go-cart and we spent most weekends go-carting. Of course it had to be a really good go-cart — one that could go at a real speed–None of those rental carts for him. My brothers got really into it and so he built another go-cart, got leather jackets made for all of us and we went to go-cart races. My brothers did pretty well but I have to say the only race I ever went in was the Powder Puff race for all the younger kids. Even in that race everyone passed me at least a couple times– I was always last place. I spent most of my time driving the little mini bike he made over the hills in the back fields while everyone else was in go-cart mode. Did I tell you that he also made the sailboat we sailed in as well. I always took his abilities for granted because I always knew him to be that way. It’s only as an adult that I see how unique and talented he really was.
Then there was the time he decided to build a houseboat to live in to avoid taxes. He even made chain beds for my brother and I. He docked it at what now is a huge fancy marina where many boats are docked with lovely restaurants near bye etc. But back then it was only my dad’s houseboat and Ralph’s bait shop. I think we had the better time there without anyone knowing yet how great a place it was. I had many good memories of poking the huge dead fish that washed up on shore, hunting for gold and diamonds in the rocks and swimming at a little beach that no-one else knew about. I remember once when it was a cold summer night, it was already dark and there was a full moon. The water was still, the light from the moon making it look like a smooth untouched skating rink. My father told us we should all go for a swim. If he were anyone else we would have thought he was crazy but my father was a factual person. When he explained that the water would be warmer than the air we knew he was speaking the truth. Shivering at the edge of the water with our bathing suits on we followed him into the water. I still think of that feeling of gliding along in the warm still water in the moonlight. The only difficulty was getting out of the water into the cold air.
I loved that deserted marina back then. The little hidden beach, the fishing off the deck of the houseboat, watching the divers retrieve the lawn chairs the time the wind blew them in the water, walking on the ice around the houseboat in the winter and wondering what it felt like for those fish who were frozen near the surface in the ice– everything about that place was special. My father made it special. It was sad when they passed a law that said any boat that has a dock leading to it will have to pay taxes. My father took the houseboat out of the water and put it in a trailer park.
The trailer park turned out to be another special place of weekend memories with my father. It’s there that he taught me to be comfortable in my skiis on the little hill at the back of the houseboat before we ventured to the ski resort. He always expressed pride in everything I did no matter what–it was always an event!
It’s also the place that I remember him making a little garden with me because I had expressed how I wanted to have a garden. I remember the feeling when he put my hand in his and we walked out to our garden when I arrived for the weekend. He wanted to show me the first sign of a carrot showing it’s dusty orange top. He told me I should be the one to pick it because it was my hard work that made it grow, after all. Strange, I don’t remember taking care of it much though–haha. And then he told me I should dust the carrot off with my hand and taste it because that’s what real gardeners do. That carrot was the best tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted, dirt and all. In fact I think the dirt may be what made it so good.
These stories are special to me. I wanted to tell them for fathers day for my father, even though he isn’t here anymore. There are so many more I could tell but I have to get back to cleaning the house so we can celebrate my husband’s day as a father. So for now I think I have told enough about my father that you can see how much he means to me.
Have a great time with your father if he is with you and if he isn’t, enjoy the memories.
Till next time,