well, today is the fifth anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s kind of hard to believe still and even harder to believe how much our lives all changed in the process. I’m not really up to thinking about it too much today, but I thought I would list the (good) things that I got from my dad. My mom always jokes that when I was born she looked and me and said, “I didn’t have anything to do with this one!” 😉 Of course, we know that’s not true, as I have some of my mom’s traits too, including her lovely smile (no braces here!)
*Looks: Well, the most obvious things I got from my dad are his family’s eyes, which are kind of blue/grey/greeny. My dad always kept his old driver’s licenses and it seems like he always had a different color listed. His eyes could be very deep blue (more like navy), or kind of teal green, or even a very flat grey. My eyes are the same. Our eyes change according to what color we have on, the weather outside, how we feel, and a billion other things. The other thing is my hypersensitive skin. Thanks, Irish ancestors.
*Sense of humor: In thinking back about get togethers with my Dad’s family, it is all about the tall tales…the bigger the fish, the crazier the person, well.. lots of laughing. My dad was the same way. Even at his funeral, his friends were telling stories and laughing. It’s not so much about the joke (although my Dad did occasionally tell them) but about the story. Real life funny. I sometimes forget that other people are serious about everything they do. Not me. Some things yes, most things, I try to do a good job, and then let it go. Life’s too short, ya know?
*Unwillingness to hold a grudge: Well, although my dad got mad plenty of times (as did all of my dad’s family), they never held a grudge against each other or anyone else, either. Although they treated each other terribly at times, they always put things aside.
*Being loud: I don’t really know how to describe this other to say, that we are just a loud family. Loud in happy times, Loud in sad; We all talk alot, we constantly have background noise (music, tv, whatever…) Even when we are quiet (reading) there’s probably still background noise.
*Interest in science, technology, history, mysteries & sci fi. We always used to watch PBS Science and Nature shows together. I can still watch hours and hours of any of those kinds of channels. Almost better than real fact was a good mystery/conspiracy. Who killed JFK? Ah, you’ll never know now, because only my father knew the answer.
*Music: Although my mom listens to music, my Dad was the music fan in our house: blues, rock, r&b, jazz, easy listening, occasional country…. those were my Dad’s favorites. I just remember my dad pulling in the driveway with the tunes cranked way up — ALWAYS. I thank my dad for exposing me to a variety of music. I can’t sing either (my dad’s family was infamous in my grandmother’s church for their loud, tone death voices…), but I sure do love music.
*Advice/Encouragement: My Dad was a strange one — very traditional (military man) in alot of ways, but maybe because his much older sister (my aunt) became a scientist in the early 60s, he never told me that I shouldn’t do something because I was a girl. I wonder sometimes if that is because there wasn’t a boy in the family, or if he truly (somehow in his old fashioned way) believed that girls could and SHOULD succeed. Instead, my sister & I were taught not to pick fights but when cornered don’t back down, fight to the end, if you have to. Be tougher, dust yourself off, when needed, and get back in there. My Dad was a big one on advice giving (he would even give advice to the President while he was on tv. Now, what he needs to do is…) and I find myself doing the same thing. I think you should…blah, blah, blah; I know it gets tiresome, so when I do it too much, just tell me to shut up.
*Help out. Although my Dad didn’t do obvious volunteer work, he would help people in little ways. For example, when we visited either of my grandmothers they always had a list of things needing fixing for him. Invariably, he would spend his whole visit fixing things. I never really heard my father complain too much except when something was a safety hazard or just out of his control. I think helping out was one of his ways of contributing.
*Work hard. Up until my Dad’s health started going, he was a really hard worker. During his brief time when he left the military, my Dad worked and went to school, so that he could have a better career. Even when he wasn’t “working”, he was cutting the grass, or trimming his roses, or doing something.
*Disagreement is good for the soul: I put this one on there because even though it is a bad thing in many ways, I think there is something productive in intellectual discussion. My father & I would go round and round about various economic/political issues (although never anything related to women), science news, everything even the existence of aliens, bigfoot, etc. I was always expected to back up my argument/viewpoint with facts — where I heard or read something and how/why I knew it to be true. Of course, we would never agree, which was part of the fun.