Sadly I lost my dad three years ago. I guess I shouldn’t say “sadly” because he lived to the ripe old age of 94! Come on, I hope I can live that long and still have all my senses about me. He was sharp until the day he passed. His body just wore out.
I have so many great memories with my dad. He was the king of the “one liners.” I remember one day talking to him on the phone. He was probably in his mid 80’s. Out of the blue he said: “Ed… do you believe in the hereafter?” I thought he was getting deep and responded: “I guess I do.” Not realizing he just set me up for the zinger, he came back with: “I keep going into the bedroom wondering what the hell am I here after!” Zing! He got me. Another time I was telling him that Patty and I started walking regularly. He returned with: “Remember, I used to walk four miles a day when I was in my 70’s. (Ok, here comes the zinger…) Then I found a shortcut!”
He was “older than most fathers when I was born. He was 42. I was a surprise. Having a father that was older than my friends fathers bothered me when I was young. I was 12 with a 54 year old dad and all my friends dad’s were in their late 30’s and early 40’s. But his age didn’t stop him from being my dad! He was always involved in whatever activity I participated in. He was my baseball coach for every team I played on. He never turned down an opportunity to toss the baseball around in the back yard. Not only was he my baseball coach for years, I look back and he was also my life coach. He taught me right from wrong and instilled a sensitivity in me that I’m so thankful for.
My dad had a unique was of showing disapproval and discipline. It was the “look.” He didn’t have to raise a hand to me, he’d just have to give me “the look.” If I got the look I knew it was time to stop whatever it was I was doing. My dad did spank me one time. I was young, around 5 years old or so. My mom caught me and a friend playing with matches. She was more the disciplinarian in the house. But this time she deferred to dad to handle the dirty work. My dad came home from work and she met him with: “Joe… I caught Eddie and Max playing with matches today! You need to spank him!” My poor dad. I know he didnt’ want to spank me. He really didn’t. But, mom gave him the orders and he had to carry it out. He took me into the bedroom and very formally said: “Drop your pants.” I was already crying without any formal spanking because I knew I had let him down. He sat in a chair and told me to lay across his lap. Then in a sad voice he said: “Son, this is going to hurt me more than it’ll hurt you.” He swatted me two times. He didn’t hit me hard at all, but enough to make his point. I remember it like yesterday.
My dad was so proud when I became a cop. I’ll never forget the big hug he gave me when I graduated from the police academy. It was a hug like I’ve never had from him before. He was so excited when I started work that he bought a police scanner so he could listen to me when I was working. He was the first to call me when my shift ended to get the dirty details on some kind of exciting call I responded to. He never missed a shift. He’d even go to bed with the scanner on when I worked graveyards. I’m sure my mom just loved that! I was able to take dad on some ride-along’s. He loved it! I remember one night dealing with two drunks who were fighting in an alley. Dad wanted to help me break it up but I made him stay by the car. I sent one drunk in one direction and the other in a different direction. Things never go as planned and of course, as one of the drunks wanted to challenge me and prove to me how tough he was. Before anything happened, I was able to give him a face first resting position on the hood of my patrol car while I handcuffed him. I remember glancing up at dad, and there he stood leaning on the open passengers door, with the biggest grin on his face as if saying “that’s my boy!”
This is something… I can feel a lump in my throat as I’m writing this! I do miss my dad. You don’t realize it until they’re gone. It’s been a little over three years since he passed and there’s hardly a day when I don’t think of him. Funny, about a week ago I was in the kitchen and I thought “I should give dad a call!” Damn… I don’t have his new number!
So today, if it’s at all possible, give your dad a big hug and tell him that you love him!