Mom tells me I’m like my dad. I figure she says so because she doesn’t want to take credit for my slightly warped sense of humour.
Dad was a trickster who loved a good laugh. I don’t know if I actually remember this event or if it only seems like I remember it because I heard the story so often. In any event, I couldn’t have been more than three. (At least I sure hope I wasn’t, because any older and it might indicate I’m not as clever as I fancy myself.)
Like many children, I had a favourite doll. I spent a great deal of time and attention on that little dolly, changing her clothes, feeding her, and lugging her around. One day while my back was turned, Dad decided it would be hilarious to smear a little peanut butter on my dolly’s bottom and hang around to watch the reaction.
I didn’t disappoint. Whether delighted or disgusted, I can’t say. But “astonished” would be an understatement. Dad got his chuckle that day and many times over as he retold the tale through the years. Like a prize fish, my eyeballs probably grew with each telling.
|Dad and Me on my wedding day, 1977|
I was a 25-year old mother with two real babies of my own. (Dad’s peanut butter prank must not have traumatized me too severely.) One morning I was busy vacuuming our home when the vacuum suddenly quit. What? Had I blown a breaker? Was my machine kaput? I inspected the switch, then followed the cord around the corner. There, in the middle of my kitchen, stood my father, the end of the cord in his hand and a big goofy grin on his face.
He had stopped in unannounced to see the kids and me, a rare treat. While I made tea, Dad squished into the rocking chair with the children to read a Dr. Seuss book. It’s a memory I treasure.
A mere two years later, we laid my father’s body in the grave. If there’s anything positive to be said for cancer, it usually provides plenty of opportunities to say good-bye and tell people how much they mean to us. I’m thankful for that. Not everyone gets the chance.
Last week, an evil man killed three young RCMP officers in Moncton. Did their families have any opportunity to say what they needed to say? I suppose when your loved one is a cop, there’s more daily awareness that every good-bye could be the last. But what’s true for police officers and their families holds true for all of us. We never know. It’s a lesson I sure don’t want to learn the hard way, do you?
So, in honour of Father’s Day, I’m sending special affection to two favorite dads I am grateful to still have in my life: the father of my children and the father of my grandchildren. You make me proud, guys, and I love you both to pieces. Thanks for loving me, too—warped sense of humour and all.