I heard on the radio today that men aren’t crazy about the necktie or sock gift. I guess I must have overheard that piece…about 45 years ago. I was in 5th grade…no socks…no necktie, instead I eagerly presented my Dad with a small, flower child incense burner with a dip on the top of her head. This was the place to burn the patchouli incense that I also gave him. He unwrapped it…being a bit bewildered and gave a small grin.
It’s been a year since my 92 year-old Dad of Swedish descent has left this world for more important travels. My Dad wasn’t the kind of Dad that made his special pancakes on Saturday morning. In fact, he was from the old school of Dads. He took the more quiet approach to raising me, and my Mom was the one I followed. He had his chair where he read, or watched sports. Dads, today, are still possessive over a particular chair.
My Dad also had the job of mowing the lawn. He would wear his “lawn mowing shirt” for this task. It was an old, beige golf shirt, with a penguin logo. Even though it began growing small holes he still wore it, of course, against my mom’s approval. I think most Dads own a shirt similar to his. It hangs around wayyyy past its expiration date. The rest of the family are completely annoyed by the sight of it, and threaten that it may turn up missing.
Dads also have a drink they are known for, or a famous recipe. My dad’s specialty was the martini. Shaken not stirred, with ice, and a solo olive.
There was also the infamous car trip. The majority of Dads are known for this. My Dad’s approach was to “just get there” if we were headed to visit relatives in Nebraska. Pulling over to admire breath-taking scenery, or a point of interest…not happening. Pulling over to go the bathroom…only when absolutely necessary. It’s all about getting from point A to point B in the least amount of time. So we went from sitting in the car for 8 hours, to sitting at a relative’s house. However, instead of moving scenery, we now had idle. If however, we were vacationing in a National Park or another sight-seeing area, it was a constant, stop–look, stop–look. And for most Dads, if they are driving some place they aren’t familiar with, they doubly enforce the rule of, “never ask for directions”.
Besides those characterizations of a typical Dad, my Dad made sure he saw the world. As most of us lament, I wish I would have asked him more questions or listened more intently. Although, little did I realize the abundant influence he had on me until later in life, such as being organized & detailed, shopping a good sale, desserts a definite priority, having a sense of style, and the importance of tradition, (every Christmas Eve we had oyster stew and a Swedish dessert, Ostakaka.)– It took awhile for me to appreciate this tradition.
However, sitting with him in his quiet, whether we were driving in the mountains, eating a burger, or drinking a 50-cent coffee, we connected.
And although he accepted that incense burner with slight hesitation and question, I know through time we both understood who we were and how we fit together as father and daughter. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, I love you today and I love you tomorrow.<3