Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there. A special 'shout out' to my own dad who is a young 84 years old. An amazing man who raised 6 children and was able to make each kid feel like an only child. I have nicknamed him "The Saint" as he and my mother attend daily mass together and have been active members of their parish for 50 years. He says his prayers every day which includes a stack of prayer cards that take about an hour to recite.
Some of my greatest memories of my dad include transportation and travel. As bullpen mom, I have driven my kids all over the east coast to attend one function or another in a very comfortable sedan or SUV. On the other hand, my family owned a VW beetle for many years as the major mode of transportation. We would travel everywhere as a family in the bug. That's right...6 kids....two parents and often extra riders would cram into the beetle for a road trip (no Coach bus here). I remember one trip when we traveled to my grandparents house two hours away from home. We also had an extra rider, my heavy-set aunt who was a nun. She sat in the front of the car with my dad while my mother and kids sat in the back. Keep in mind that VW beetles were no bigger back then than they are today, therefore, add one normal size mother and her 6 kids under ten and picture how they would be seated in the car. Guess where I sat? That's right...on the floor of the back seat on the little elevation in the middle. My infant brother was on mom's lap, two brothers in the way back cubby, and my two sisters sitting on the seat next to mom. There were no seatbelts....if anything happened...When we arrived at Grandma's, we got out of the car one by one hunched over from being in the same position unable to move for two hours.
There was one incident in the bug where I began to feel sick. To this day, I have never seen my mother move so fast as to grab me from the cubby seat during a long trip. I felt sick...the breaks screeched to a stop....my mom's arms grew 5 inches grabbing me and throwing me like a perfect football spiral to vomit in front of the shoe store rather than in the car. Joe Montana has nothing on my mom.
That's just some of the many memories of my father and family. Dad was always there for us either with his wisdom or assistance. One father's day, he stopped by my apartment and helped me to plant flowers around the patio. It was 100 degrees and he did not stop until all of the flowers were in place. Afterward, we sat all hot and sweaty, drinking iced tea and chatted about life...then he hopped into his car (the bug was gone and he now had a Ford Crown Vic) and off he went back home to mom and the family.
Other great memories include the times when we would golf together. He took up golfing late in life...his 60's. Since no one belonged to a country club, we would play on hot Saturday afternoons on the public golf course. The temperature would often climb to over 100 degrees, but we did not stop. There were times when I had to move the game along as he did not like to lose balls. Not one for giving up on finding something that was lost, he would search for his lost balls in the rough. After a few minutes of not-so-patiently waiting, I would take one out of the bag and discretely throw it to another area giving him a good shot. I am pretty sure that he never caught on and if he did, he never said anything.
So that's my dad...A good guy...role model....mentor...he's spiritual...a good citizen...and 'walks the talk'....my father...someone I love and respect. Happy Father's Day....thanks for everything Pop! You're the best.....