Friday, June 6, 2014

50 Things About My Dad

I posted 50 Things About Momma back in it's Dad's turn. It's not quite Father's Day, but I'll be in Disney World next week and I don't want to forget to honor dad before his big day.

1. Dad had these Buddy Holly-esque glasses (left over from high school or college, I assume) and whenever he put them on I knew he was about to mow the yard. They seemed very uncool to me in the 1970's but they would be totally hip today.

2. He says he's sorry way too often. So do I. (This tendency of mine to inherit odd things will be a recurring theme...)

3. He's so kind, that as I was growing up a lot of my friends wondered if he was for real. He is.

4. I'm not sure how many languages he took in hgh school and college but I do remember some interesting dinner conversations about Latin roots.

5. On that note, I remember that he had a German bible.

6. Continuing with the theme outlined in numbers 4 and 5, above, when my family discussed theology (typically at dinner or during long car trips...we were wild and crazy as you can tell), my dad's knowledge about Hebrew was quite helpful.

7. Once, after my best friend and I watched The Seventh Sign, he explained the meaning of the word eschatology and the role it plays in modern art and culture. Did I mention Dad went to seminary? He decided to leave a year before graduation because he realized it really wasn't his calling - it was just something his parents expected him to do.

8. Lest you think Dad is a really serious person, you should know that he absolutely LIVES to crack puns and truly bad jokes.

9. He quizzed me on French vocabulary when I was a high school sophomore and we both found it hilarious that the French word for grapefruit is pamplemousse.

10. Two months later, he showed me a bag of Texas Ruby Red grapefruit he'd bought at H.E.B. because he noticed that French word on it. We wondered if a few bags were on their way to Paris.

11. Dad took us to Yellowstone and was the only one who could stand to get close to the mud pots (so stinky!) to capture some photos.

12. He still believes my mom hung the moon (to be fair, she sort of did) and clearly adores her.

13. Becoming a grandfather made him incredibly happy. The grandkids call him GranDan.

14. The first time he held my daughter (just an hour or so after she was born) he spent about twenty minutes describing that morning's sunrise to her and how it was special because it happened on the day she came into the world. She listened intently to him.

15. He totally believes in me and my brother.

16. He is, however, a control freak and would often rather take care of things on his own - so my brother and his wife are slowly helping him overcome that tendency as they help with the business.

17. When I was in third grade (or maybe second grade?) he BUILT me a canopy bed. I loved it beyond all expectations.

18. He also built quite a few other furniture pieces in our house.

19. During my first job as a lawyer, I was on a business trip and had to work with a partner in the law firm who was probably certifiably crazy. He reveled in verbally abusing all associates. One day I found myself bursting into tears as he cussed at me for 30 minutes. Horrified and embarrassed, I rushed to call my dad the second the partner let me leave his office. Dad was the only person I wanted to call after that because I was so embarrassed but he made me feel much better. He didn't criticize the partner or tell me he was angry with the partner, he helped me understand my reaction was normal and just supported me and helped me move forward.

20. Dad has a great grin. It's huge and genuine. A bunch of folks tell me that I have his smile.

21. I think he's only raised his voice to me MAYBE seven times in my entire life and at least four of those were when he was teaching me to drive. THAT is completely understandable. (Trust me.)

22. The first time he didn't make my brother and I split an order of fries at McDonald's we both almost had a heart attack from shock. He didn't understand why we were making such a big deal about it, even when we pointed out that he had never (in years and years) let us order our own fries.

23. As evidenced by #22 - Dad was profoundly frugal.

24. So...when this cartoon came out when I was in college, I cut it out of the paper and mailed it to him!

25. My dad actually looks quite a bit like Calvin's that I think about it.

26. For my 16th birthday, my dad picked out an opal necklace and earrings as a special gift for me. Normally my parents gave me gifts together but Momma made a point of telling me that Dad had gone shopping by himself for this gift. She knew it would mean a lot to me - and it did.

27. I wore that jewelry at my wedding.

28. Here's another story from my wedding day involving Dad: As he, my mom, and I walked around the outside of the church so we could all walk down the aisle, Dad accidentally stepped on the train of my dress. (It was bizarrely long.) I turned around at him in a panic and snapped "Dad!!!! You may NOT step on my dress!!!" ( know...I thought he might not be clear on that point. Plus it was my wedding day and I was losing my mind.)

29. At that point (after stepping on my train) Dad gave my mom a shocked look then calmly said something along the lines of "Ok, Jennifer. Thanks. I won't."

30. He used to make me and my brother pancakes on Saturday morning - shaped as a "J" for me and a "D" for my brother.

31. He built us an unbelievable playhouse in our first backyard - complete with a concrete foundation and a dutch door.

32. Our first dog was a big Irish Setter named Shaman. We had to give him away to a family with more space because our yard was too small for him. Although I was VERY young, I remember my dad shedding tears that day as we said goodbye to Shaman.

33. He has a green thumb. (I didn't inherit that, in case you're curious.)

34. Dad is a bit accident prone.

35. Number 34, above, is an extreme understatement. I drove him to the ER once when I was in high school after one of his many kitchen knife accidents.

36. Growing up, we called my dad Fozzie Bear because of his friendly attitude and corny jokes.

37. When my dad helped us move one year, my husband marveled at how naturally strong Dad was and said that if Dad ever decided to lift weights, he could almost be a body builder.

38. Dad's not going to be a body builder. He does, however, exercise every day by taking their chihuahua Bluebell for walks.

39. Our first chihuahua, Bambi, was insanely bonded with my dad. When she was a puppy, Dad carried her around in his robe pocket.

40. Dad is terribly hard on shoes. They wear out super fast on him. Unlike the green thumb gene (mentioned earlier) I actually inherited the shoe trait from him. Whoopee.

41. Every single animal my husband and I ever had (bunny or dog) thought my dad was the best human being on the planet and got very excited to see him. Our current dog might actually have a SLIGHT preference for my mom....but Dad is still way up there.

42. Dad was the first person to introduce me to the idea that there's a lot more to animals than conventional wisdom presumes. He read a book contemplating the idea of animal souls and told me that the book talked about how elephants visit the graveyards of their ancestors.

43. Dad has a great big loud laugh. It's fabulous.

44. He started his own business when I was growing up and it's grown into quite a success, with my brother's help.

45. Dad always read books to me when I was a little girl and would use silly voices or say the wrong words sometimes to tease me and have fun.

46. I earned a great scholarship to Austin College in Sherman, Texas and spent my freshman year there. That summer I met David (who is now my husband), fell in love, and decided to transfer to Texas Tech. Looking back, that was probably a big financial hit for my parents. Of course, as an 18 year old, that never crossed my mind and dad never voiced a word of complaint about it.

47. As Dad and I got into the car to drive me to Lubbock so that I could start my sophomore year of college at a new place with a guy I'd met only a few months before, I had a moment of panic and asked him: "Dad, am I making a mistake? I haven't known David very long." He smiled and assured me that he wasn't worried in the least. He had a feeling David was the right guy for me, but no matter what - even if David and I didn't stay together - he had faith in my decisions and the path I chose.

48. Dad came up with the most fabulous idea for my wedding reception. We had it at the Texas State Aquarium.

49. Dad is an Eagle Scout and always loved to camp. I remember being about 4 years old and sitting on a rock as we fished and the rain started to come in. It was a happy memory for me but the thunder storm that followed made that the last family campout because Momma was done with camping after that!

50. My dad is the reason I picked a wonderful husband. He's probably also the reason I picked someone with a pretty odd sense of humor. I believe the tradition will be carried on as my own daughter someday finds her soulmate.

I love my dad. A LOT. Happy Father's Day, Dad!


Ann Kroeker said...

What a wonderful human being! Number 14 For some reason that hit me deep in my spirit, imagining that tender, specific attention to the newborn. And picking out your jewelry--and then you wearing it at your wedding. And the chihuahua in his robe pocket. This makes me want to meet him!

Megan Willome said...

Jenn, this makes me so happy because I love your dad so much.

P.S. Ann! Hi!