My Father, The Most Important Man In My Life (Also The Punniest)

When I was about twelve my father had an altercation with a lady at the bank.  They were screwing him around and he just got angrier and angrier the more she tried to justify the bank’s actions.  Thing is, he’s pretty good at hiding it.  My dad doesn’t get angry often and rarely to that level.  The lady eventually just backed away and ran into her cubicle.  He never said a mean word to her – of that I am sure – but his mere presence had her scurry away like a frightened rabbit.

As we were leaving I turned to my dad and said “Daddy, when you get angry, you get bigger.”

And he does.  Not physically bigger like the Hulk but…spiritually bigger?  It’s like his spirit becomes to large for his already massive frame (my dad is 6’4 and rotund) and seeps out around the edges.

This event sticks out in  my mind as a definitive moment in our relationship because deep down I realized that not only was my father a spiritual man – that he was human.  That he got angry and sad and all those emotions he hid from us to keep the smiles on our faces.

I love my father more than any other man alive.  He is the being to which all my relationships have been put against.  He is the person all the men in my life had to measure up to – and that’s a pretty tall order.  The only one to come close is my husband.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I know.  I have a father who is still alive, still a part of my life, who has always loved and supported me no matter what, who loves my mother with all his heart and would lay his life on the line for his family.  He’s an amazing man and wonderful father.

My dad is a martial artist.  As age and weight has set in he’s stopped practicing save for the occasional Tai-Chi in the backyard, but I say IS because he’s never truly lost it.  He didn’t join a club with levels and belts and all that jazz.  They had one belt and it was there to hold up their pants.  They met in a small club and fought, and they fought hard.  It was a small club as the amount of people who could “stand the heat” so-to-speak was small.  Once a week they’d sit under a waterfall and meditate (in Canada).  The spiritual training was as intense as the physical and he carries both to this day.  He wasn’t the best fighter, he says, but when other clubs would face his during tournaments more often than not the fighters forfeited before a punch was thrown.  So when I looked at other kids and said “My dad could beat up your dad” I wasn’t bluffing.

He told me a story of some dude trying to come up behind and mug him late at night.  That dude left with two broken arms (and I hope a new outlook on life).

I’ll never forget the time that my friend’s husband challenged my (already pushing 50) father to a fight.  Her husband was in his 20’s and as high as he could go in his martial arts club.  We all gathered on the porch to watch and it was over in seconds.  Friend’s hubby was sprawled out on the grass my dad holding onto his arm and pressing down on his chest.  Us ladies laughed our butts off.  Hubby’s pride was hurt but he found a great respect for my dad, and it carried over into a friendship for several years.

He rode dirtbikes in his younger years and met his true love through that activity.  I have a tattoo on my back of a wolf (dad) and cheetah (mom) in a circle done in a dirtbike style – in honour of them.  Dad always says that if he hadn’t met my mom he never would have married.  He’s not afraid to be alone.  He was a lone wolf most of his life before marraige.

He’s a nerd.  Since the first computer was built he’s been fascinated with them.  We had a computer long before most of my friends did, mostly so my dad could tinker with it.  I used it to write Sailor Moon fanfiction.

Now that he’s retired he spends his time on a computer creating 3D models of things he reads about in his sci-fi and fantasy books.  He’ll send them to the author when it’s done to his satisfaction.  My dad is retired and creates fan art.  I come by it honestly.

He reads comics.  He watches samurai movies.  He loves science and technology, cars and football, writing poetry and playing video games.  He’s the punniest man I’ve ever met.  A classic pun will elicit the best of groans, and they are always perfectly timed.

One time on a trip to Rome he got to take his shoes off and stand where Julius Ceasar stood.

One time he cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner and when my brother and I asked why the Kraft dinner was white, we discovered he had cooked the cheese with the macaroni.  Another time he lit a microwave on fire by putting in an Arby’s sandwich still in the tinfoil.  He’s not much of a cook.  But he does make a yummy egg dish full of cheese and hotdogs and bacon.  I used to ask him to make it for me as he took such joy in it.

He was a teacher and I always felt his kids must be so lucky to have him.  He taught the deaf and I would watch as he talked with others using his hands and marvel at it.  Sign language is, IMO, one of the world’s most beautiful languages.  He gave up his weekends to be with us – playing whatever sport my younger brother had decided was awesome at the time.

Through my dad I met so many fascinating people.  A card-reading woman who sparked my interest and empathy in Native affairs (and medicine cards).  A rough and tough biker who took my brother and I for rides on his motor cycle when he wasn’t roaming in a local gang.  A man from the islands who ate ox tail and watched bad martial arts movies.

He taught me compassion, empathy and to be accepting and inclusive in a time when this was still not the norm.  No matter your background, no matter your religion, no matter your sexual orientation – if you were a good person, you were welcomed.

Infinitely curious about the world around him my dad always asks me about my job at the comic shop.  One time when I was taking care of the Yaoi section of the store (romantic manga written by women for women starring guys) dad wanted to read one.  So I picked one out, gave it to him, he read it cover to cover said “Hmm, interesting,” and handed it back to me.  I laughed and handed him a samurai manga instead of a Yaoi.  “Much more my speed, but I see why it’s popular,” he said.

And as a Grandpa?  I’m so happy that I got to give him a grandchild to adore – and that Bean will get to know him at least some before the inevitable.

There are so many interesting stories, so many awesome things I could tell you about my father.  It would take up several posts!  But I think this is enough for now.  The most important thing is that I love him and he loves me and even if I’d created my own father he wouldn’t have been as good as the one I got.  It was father’s day this past Sunday and, though late, I wanted to share with all of you a bit of my daddy.

Am I a daddy’s girl?  Absolutely and I couldn’t be fucking prouder.

Dad at the local Pagan festival with me.

Dad at the local Pagan festival with me.

 

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Penny Bought Bunny

I have the usual memories of Easter from when I was a child, my mom always spoiled my brother and I on holidays.  Chocolate bunnies nestled in bright baskets full of pastel colored plastic grass.  The eggs my brother and I had decorated with crayon and food coloring hidden around the house.  Eating mounds of candy and a trip to the park – no doubt to wear off the sugar rush my brother and I were both on.  Crazy kids, loving parents, always a good weekend.

One of my fondest memories of Easter though is when I was 10 years old.  In the local convenience store there was a chocolate bunny in a box.  One day several weeks before Easter I got it in my head that I needed to buy that bunny for my mom and dad for a present.  I went about collecting all the change I could find – everything in my drawers, my piggy banks, my hidden stashes.  I sat in our playroom and counted pennies and nickles until I had the 9.99 price tag to buy the rabbit.  Being that I was 10 I didn’t know about rolling coin or about taxes yet so I dragged exactly 9.99 in mostly pennies down the street Easter weekend to the store.  In a plastic bag.  Complete with bits of paper and pet hair mixed in.

I remember waiting in line, bouncing up and down as I eyed the bunny on the shelf.  Surely no one would buy the chocolate before MY turn in line, right?  Bright eyed (and bushy tailed) I plopped the bag of coin down on his counter and proudly announced “I want to buy that bunny for my mommy and daddy please!”  (yes, I called them mommy and daddy – I still do at 34 years of age)

I’m not sure if the shop keeper found it annoying or adorable that I had brought him this bag of change but he and I counted it together in between other customers being rung through.  I had counted right (I remember being very proud of this fact) but I didn’t have enough.  He explained to me about taxes and my world fell down around me.  I didn’t have any more money.  That was everything I could find in the house!

The shop keeper thought for a moment and finally handed me the bunny.  He took the bag of change and set it behind the counter.  He bagged up my bunny and sent me on my way.  I was so happy!  I ran home, made my own wrapping paper for the bunny and prepared to present it to mommy and daddy the next morning.

They were touched that I bought it and I remember refusing to eat my chocolate before they ate theirs.  I learned later that my mom hated milk chocolate and ate some of it anyways to see me smile.  I think that was the first time I realized how much FUN giving presents was – especially when I had toiled so hard to acquire the gifts.  The feeling of pride and happiness as mom and dad enjoyed the bunny has stuck with me all these years and I continue to enjoy giving people things that make them smile to this day.

Happy Easter … no matter how you celebrate.  Have a bunny, on me.  🙂