I remember papa bird

by Julie Frayn on March 26, 2012 in  Bric-a-brac

March 27th is an important day for my family. Daddy died that day. Seventeen years have flown by since we lost him to quickly deteriorating health at the ridiculously young age of 61. How unfair.

I think of him most every day. But especially on March 27th. And on his birthday which he shares with my nephew, his first grandchild. Oh, how proud he was for that boy to be born on that day. I bet the sun had to wear shades to protect its eyes from the gleam of his smile.

I think about him all Fathers’ day long, and on any Friday the 13th, his lucky day. And of course, on April 1st. April fool’s day. He loved that day most, loved to pull pranks. Loved it so much, we all took great satisfaction arranging his funeral for that day. Secretly hoped it would turn out that it was just a big prank, that he’d pop up and say “April fools!” That he wasn’t really gone. But he was.

I can’t help but think of what Dad has missed. Seeing his grandchildren grow, mature, become adults. Watching my daughter graduate high school, awarded with academic excellence. Measuring his much smaller frame against my son’s, his youngest grandchild’s, all 6’5 plus of him. Witnessing his children’s successes. Being there to comfort us when we fail. Seeing my sister’s first art show. Reading my first novel.

Mom and Dad on a BC Ferry, 1975

So I keep my thoughts instead on only the best times. Before the illness, before the pain. I try to ignore that he looked a man of 90 on his last day on earth. Try to simply recall him at his robust best. His joke cracking, spontaneous singing, glazed ham making, dog-loving, best.

I remember summer mornings, he and I up at the crack of dawn. We would sit on the front porch and eat buttered raisin toast before anyone else woke up. Before the neighbors, or Dad, started up the lawn mowers. We’d chat about school, or just sit and listen to the birds. That was our time.

I remember Player’s Plain. Those unfiltered cigarettes he would tap tap tap on the coffee table, then quietly swipe the tobacco onto the carpet, winking at me when I caught him. Then he’d get the vacuum and clean it up.

I remember Christmas. That fake tree that we would all assemble, then step back and wait impatiently for Daddy to string the lights. Then, the pièce de résistance – not one, but two “tree drapes.” Dad’s preferred tinsel that no one but him was allowed to touch. Five feet long strands held together with a cardboard loop to hang from the treetop. He would take forever making it drape just so.

I remember King KameHaHa – Dad in Hawaii wearing nothing but his briefs, a dishrag on his head and a hibiscus flower stuffed in front. His version of King Kamehameha, conqueror of the Hawaiian islands.

I remember you, Daddy. I remember you.

Me and Dad, mid-'80s

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitch March 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

This is the poem that I included in my father’s eulogy -“Only a Dad”, by Edgar Guest. I think it is a fitting tribute to all the wonderful men out there who are dads. In loving memory of my dad and for your dad too.

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Reply

Julie March 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Thanks, hon. That’s a beautiful poem. Appreciate you sharing it. In memory of good dads everywhere. ♥

Linda Hamilton March 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

Great memories Julie, the old and the new. He was there to share them all with you. Although you couldn’t see him, he hasn’t missed a thing.

Reply

Julie March 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Thanks, Linda. That is a comforting thought. :)

Sheila March 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Julie: You are so fortunate to have such good memories of the time you spent with your father. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us…

Reply

Julie March 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Thanks, Sheila! Glad you visited and commented. So many more memories of Dad, had to stop and save some for another day. :)

J Timothy Quirk March 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm

This is a wonderful tribute to your father. It is good to remember fond memories and how we are shaped by them. Although he may not have witnessed some of things in life as you described, clearly he had an enormous influence and those memories are a treasured legacy to cherish for your family.

Reply

Julie March 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Thanks, Joe. Dad had a definite influence on all of us. He wasn’t perfect (who is?), but I couldn’t have asked for a better Dad.

Sean P. Farley March 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Extremely touching, nearly brought a tear to my eye. Even though your father is gone, it’s clear your love for him is still real and true. That’s important, and I’m sure that’s what he would have wanted. This is a wonderful post, Julie. It’s a personal side of you I’m happy you shared. Thank you. :)

Reply

Julie March 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Thank you, Sean. I will try harder to coax the tears out next time. 😀 Just kidding, appreciate you stopping by and sharing a little bit with me.

Carolyn March 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hey little systir… I couldn’t read this for a couple of days, well said. Very glad you didn’t put up the shot of Dad in his briefs with the hibiscus on his head! :) LLL…

Reply

Julie March 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I thought about it! But the only one I have is the one that you turned into a piece of art and there were copyright issues… Hahaha… ♥LLL

mikey March 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

very cool Julie and well written,

time does pass quickly, i suppose the last time i saw any of your family was at the funeral. He was most certainly a good man or more appropriately “jai dee’ (“good heart”) as the Thais would say. I’ve acquired some Buddhist tendencies over the years and cant help but think he moved onto something better…

bob turned 72 march 18th…..and i am just now realizing how lucky i have been …..take care

Reply

Julie March 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Good heart – nice. Yes, he was that. I’d love to think he’s somewhere good, but what could be better than staying with family? For me, not much. :) Thanks for commenting little Mikey. When did you start calling your dad, Bob? And wish him a late happy birthday.

Jase Rosenburg (@JaseR75) April 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Such a great tribute. April 12th is the anniversary of my dad’s passing. He will be gone 6 years. This post lets me know I’m not alone. Thank you!

Reply

Julie April 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

You are definitely not alone, Jase. Will be thinking of you on the 12th.

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