Sunday, June 21, 2015

To My Menfolk on Fathers' Day

Dear John,
Happy Fathers' Day! The dog and cats wanted me to give you a card from them, so here it is. They love and miss you. If you could stop by tonight, it would mean the world to them. You were such a good dog-daddy, and would be just as good with the cats. Give Caleb and Naomi a scratch for me. I'm glad they finally get to be with their daddy.
Speaking of which, stop and go get my father. I want to tell him how much I love and miss and appreciate him. When I was little he'd take me somewhere every Saturday. It gave Mama a break, but it was also my special time with my Daddy and I loved it. We'd go to the zoo or the airport or go climb Stone Mountain. Often we'd eat at the Varsity downtown, and if it was fall we'd sit in one of the rooms with televisions and watch football together. Occasionally he'd have to stop by a job site on the way. He'd put a hardhat on me and I was so little that all I could see was my feet, so he'd hold my hand and I'd hang on for dear life. I loved that.
Daddy was like you - he was always there when I needed him, but he didn't hover or micromanage. Every time I called, he was right there to help me and defeat the bad guys. He never failed to respect my thoughts, opinion, decisions, and abilities. He taught me all about football and basketball; we watched hours of sports together. He taught me how to ride a bike - no helmets or training wheels in those days, thank goodness - and how to drive a car. And he taught me how to hang on when you're left alone without your spouse. He taught me to be generous. He taught me by example a self-control that has been called stoicism, but is really just the belief that it's not good manners to inflict my inconvenient feelings on innocent bystanders.
He never blew his own horn. I had to find out from Mama that he was in the first wave of D-Day and earned a purple heart. I found out after I was in college that he was in the advance party that found Auschvitz long before anybody knew that such places existed. He liberated Auschvitz and carried the scars with him for the rest of his life. And never said a word.
So tonight, tell him that I love him and thank him and miss him. I think about him every day. I am grateful to have had a father who was also a good man. I so look forward to seeing him again.
Love to my menfolk,

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