Monday, November 24, 2014

Dear Dad...

There are many things I've said thank you for in my life, and I want to say them again here, because I believe that you can still hear me.

Dad on his birthday in 2011.
Thank you for taking care of me for so many years, for taking me shopping, and taking me to dinner at places that expanded my tastes and palate, and for hanging in there with me in the meantime (like switching dinners with me at Las Briskas the night I ordered Chile Rellenos and they were too spicy for me to eat). Thank you for Mexican food, Spanish food, Italian food, Transylvania food, Persian food, Swedish food, German food, and all kinds of other food, too.  Thank you for buying me an awesome bicycle and then sponsoring me year after year in the American Cancer Society Bike-A-Thon.

Thank you for your service to this country, for putting your life on the front lines for fourteen months during the Korean war.  Thank you for changing flats for me on cars and SUVs, and for scooping out sludgy oil by the handful and fixing engines and changing taillights when I brought you the latest in a long line of crappy "new" used cars during the entirety of the 1980s.  Thank you for teaching me what you were doing and why you were doing it and how it worked when you were fixing it-- it being car parts, light fixtures, pipes, and even engineering parts.  Thank you for putting in floors and cabinets and sinks, and for buying me my first shotgun because that's what I wanted for my birthday.

Zach, Dad, Alex, Yvonne
Thank you for saving my life by guilting me into quitting smoking in 1984.  Thank you for your sense of humor, for your love of puns and ridiculous T-shirts and Bah-Humbug Christmas sweatshirts.  Thank you for being proud of me and believing I could do anything in the world.  Thank you for being on the other end of those heavy pieces of furniture I always had to move, and for loving my writing and my artwork and for bragging about me to people.  Thank you for buying me my very first tiny computer, and for hanging pictures, and for carrying heavy stuff of every shape and size.

Thank you for eating anything I cooked and telling me it was great (and probably fibbing a few times).  Thank you for genuinely loving the homemade mole sauce I made you for Father's Day one year, and for sharing microwaved dinners with me and for cooking me the most perfect grilled steaks on the planet.  Thank you for taking me to and from doctors, hospitals, and all manner of strange and not-so-fun appointments.  Thank you for suffering through The Sound of Music with me, and a million horror and action movies.  Thank you for enduring boyfriends and late convention hours and rides to and from the airport and for taking care of Chanci when I worked so much overtime to save for a house of my own.  Thank you for opening your home to me at one of the lowest times in my life and therefore giving me the chance to save for that same home.

Thank you for steer skulls and a Colorado River rafting trip and an auto-start on my car so I could endure driving to the commuter train during hellish Chicago winter mornings.  Thank you for hacking all the ice off my truck after a winter ice storm one weekday, so that when I got to it in the parking lot I literally looked up at the sky in bewilderment (while everyone else glared at me).  Thank you for shoveling snow and for cutting grass and for drilling holes in concrete where I needed them.  Thank you for oil changes and brake jobs and new car radios, and for marching down to that car detailer and telling them their employee had intentionally opened a window in my truck so they could break into it later.  Thank you for standing up for me.  Thank you for opening doors for me.

Thank you for moving to Arizona with me, and then for loving it after you did.  Thank you for hanging towel racks and introducing me to Kahlua and Amaretto on the rocks, and for laughing when I couldn't find third gear in that darned Puma of yours and had to coast to the side of the road as the police car went past in the other direction and the officer looked at me like I was insane.  Thank you for trying the lavender piece of candy I offered you in Nebraska, then telling me "It fell out the window." when I asked how you liked it.

Dad and Lily.
Thank you for lending me tools and then giving them to me.  Thank you for a beautiful black velvet jacket that went with my Christmas party outfit but that I couldn't afford.  Thank you for making me always feel smart, intelligent, competent and beautiful.  Thank you for going to my booksignings when no one showed up and for keeping all the newspaper clippings about me.  Thank you for all the photos you took.  Thank you for your understanding, and for your patience and acceptance when you didn't understand at all.  

Thank you for loving all my dogs and worrying about them, and for showing up at the vet's office the day Lily died-- even though no one had told you about it, somehow you knew to drive by and see our car.  Thank you for taking care of them when we were out of town for as long as you were able.  Thank you for liking our birds, and for appreciating that even though you couldn't see the potential in our newly bought house, I could.  Thank you for telling the Sierra Vista Police Officer who came looking for that house's previous owner "I didn't do it, I wasn't there, and it wasn't my job anyway." to make him laugh.

Dad's beloved Porsche.
Thank you for the endless cups of coffee and Belgium pecan waffles and Dunkin' Donuts.  Thank you for introducing me to The Kingston Trio and Nanci Griffith, and for going to see Waylon Jennings with me.  Thank you for cheering for me in martial arts and Escrima matches.  Thank you for putting up with me when I was grumpy and for sharing an office with me in your house.  Thank you for driving an hour to pick me up at some far-flung northern suburb when I got on the wrong train after work one night and fell asleep, and for laughing about it when you got there.

Thank you for worrying about me and for thinking about me and for loving me and for being there for me, and for the billion other things I know I'm missing here.  I believe that somewhere you can read this, and that you can smile about it, and that you'll know how much you meant to me.
I love you, and I will see you again someday where your speech is returned and you can talk my ear off about the latest and greatest in Porsche and motorcycles.

Thank you for being my Dad.


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