While most of the world thinks of today as, "the day before Sept. 11th...the worse day ever", it holds a different connotation for me. Sept. 10th is the date my Dad died. How in the world can that have happened 17 years ago already?
Hold on, it's not going to be one of those morbid posts. Can't be. Dad and I shared the same silly sense of humor, so that's not allowed. He had cancer and we handled it together, sometimes while actually giggling...which made the medical staff question each other over what drugs had been prescribed. And to whom. The only moment, other than the reality of the diagnosis itself, that I ever wanted to take back was one of those Freudian slips of the tongue which happened out of sheer anger braided with frustration.
We walked out of the initial diagnosis and I didn't know what to do. I was the KID for heaven's sake, even if I was in my 30s. I was use to a parent reassuring me that everything would be okay. I'd never had to come up with something reassuring, with a side order of encouragement, minus any sappy sweetness that would smack of the insensitive.
My mouth opened and went straight to insensitive, minus the sugar, as I muttered, "Life's a bitch."
To which my Dad responded, without missing a beat,"...and then you die."
If ever life needed a reverse button, that was it.
The truth is, Dad should only have been around six months past that day. The doctor would tell me later it was the fact Dad and I refused to put away our sense of humor that made the man stay around for almost five more years. My guilty secret? At his funeral, I didn't cry. I smiled. I'm sure many people thought it was some sort of hysterical reaction. It wasn't. Dad and I had talked about what to do when that day came... Sept. 10th, as it turned out. My Mona Lisa smile was because rather than be caught up in life's sudden rush of funeral homes, caskets, suits, flowers, music and burial plot, it wasn't a shock filled blur. We'd done that planning years before. Once Dad finished the pre-emptive strike of planning, we concentrated on the LIVING part. The here and now. Walks down Memory Lane. I didn't miss my chance to say anything I wanted, or needed to say... and neither did Dad.
During that time Dad once mused that he wouldn't be able to leave us a large sum of money. I remember replying that he earned his money and I wished he'd spend it all on HIMSELF before the ride was over. He didn't. But I did talk him into a new car. And the boat, motor and trailer he'd always wanted.
Dad left me more than some financial security, his sinus problems or verbal instructions on how to change a flat tire. He left me memories. And even in this economy, those are still valuable and not subject to taxes.
So today I salute the Wisdom...and Sense of Humor... of Dad.
The man who instilled the message, "Safety first!"
yet let me stand on the front seat of the car
and hand him newspapers when he had a Sunday route.
Then again, that car was built like a tank.
Plus, you had to know Dad's "younger" version of safety.
During his 4 year stint in the Navy,
he took this from the deck of his ship
DURING Hurricane Hazel.
(Why yes, the deck IS sideways and almost in the ocean).
To be fair,
I once asked him what was at the edge of the ocean,
(the horizon...for all you adults out there)
to which he replied, "Wonderful lands. Wonderful people!"
I believed him because he'd been in the Navy.
(And he was Dad)
I'd seen photos of Naples and Casablanca...
long before my existence was even a passing thought.
Having "met" all of you,
my invisible cyber friends,
I'd say Dad was right.
(He's also the only sailor wearing clothes in this photo!)
Dad told me to be careful and never get on a motorcycle.
Hubby (then Boyfriend) had one of those.
They were dangerous, Dad declared.
I chose to interpret that as "motorcycles", not the Boyfriend.
And then I found this.
It wasn't bad enough I found this in Grandma's photo album.
Oh no. I had to add...
"How could it be dangerous if you took puppies for a ride?"
Grandma's photo album, by the way,
was a wealth of humorous material.
If your parents declared they couldn't afford a horse,
what could a guy do but put his sense of humor into play?
as your First Born ,
I always knew we had a special bond.
Cool thing is, I always knew you had my back.
Even when telling me to stay off motorcycles.
I hope you felt like I had your back
when the time came for me to return the favor.