My dad isn't here anymore, so today is bittersweet for me. I'm trying to bulk up the sweet.
Dad taught me a lot of things. Complete tasks as soon as you get them. Clean your kitchen mess as you cook. Don't forget to wear a belt if you're climbing a tree and your pants are too big. My dad's the reason I can't listen to 50's music without rolling my eyes (Senior Prom 1,2, and 3 every fricking Saturday in the car while we ran errands), but also how I know all the Beach Boys songs.
Dad taught me how to cook- how to measure, chop, read a recipe. He also taught me how to deviate from the recipe when things could obviously use a little more cayenne pepper and maybe your sinuses could use a little stimulation. My best recipes are from him. Cajun Potato Salad (made with homemade aioli instead of mayonnaise), Green Salsa (fresh, unroasted tomatillos), and my entire Thanksgiving Dinner (which you are all invited to this year).
But my best lesson from Dad was to be true to yourself. My dad was blatantly and honestly himself. Sometimes that meant he was silly. In the middle of nothing, he would ask us, "Have I ever told you about my friend Tanda?" We'd play along and say, "No," and he would continue the story. "Tandalea Lipshitz. She had beautiful, long-flowing black hair. Coming out of her nostrils. And when she sneezed, it would crack like a whip." I still smile at that one.
He worked insane at his job, not because he wanted or needed accolades, but because that's who he was. A hard worker. And he was known and respected for this. Part because he never missed a deadline, and could be counted on to help anyone, but also because he traveled the country giving speeches and sometimes wore a ladies' blond wig for part of it. Maybe this is where I get the whole, willing to look like an idiot if it's funny thing.
My dad had a big mouth. Swore like crazy. My maternal grandma was concerned that my first words would be "Jesus Christ" and not in a prayer. Her concern was legit. And the Tanda story was probably his cleanest. I know more dirty jokes than most girls, all taught from Dad. And he would tell you honestly how he felt about everything. So if you really wanted to know how those pants looked on your butt, he was the one to ask. However, tact was not his strongest point, so sometimes his truths hurt. Especially if you hadn't wanted to know how those pants looked on your butt and he told you anyway. You just had to understand that his comments came from a good place. He wouldn't tell you what you wanted to hear, rather what you needed to hear. And he was nearly always right about that.
Dad also loved and hated with passion. If he was upset with you, no one fought harder, more vicious, than my dad. He was relentless. Attacked with the intention of injury. And you would get an apology occasionally, but it was after the fury, the storm, when he was ready for it. But when he wasn't angry, and that truly was most of the time, he loved so big it could make everything right in the world. Dad was a spontaneous and frequent hugger. He'd have you sit next to him on the couch just so he could put his arm around you and squeeze. His gifts were always thoughtful. He'd help you figure out any problem, whether school, boys, job. And he was present, never distracted when you spent time together. Would take every call and stay on as long as you needed to.
So Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you. I miss you.