I am fortunate. My father is still alive at age 84 and in relatively good health.
I still call him “Daddy.”
I learned a lot from my dad. I learned how to cut the grass, take out the trash, spackle, install insulation and drywall, paint, garden, and bathe and groom our dog.
We would sit together as a family in front of the television to watch “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “Sonny and Cher,” “Jacques Cousteau” and many other shows.
We had dinner together as a family, and when caught giving our dog the peas on my plate, I had to stay at the table until I ate the remaining peas.
My father taught me how to drive as long as I had my “driving shoes” on.
He also taught me how to insert “shoo-be-doo” in any song if you don’t know the words.
When I lived at home, if I had been out late on a Saturday night with friends, he would be sure to wake me up just as the “Sunday Morning” theme song came on the television so I wouldn’t miss it.
I have fond memories of my grandfather, too. He taught me how to put the squiggly worms on the hook and to fish. He also attempted to teach me how to dive. That didn’t work.
In his older years, my grandfather would watch “Al Alberts Showcase,” remembering the jokes and repeat them to me each time we would get together. He loved to sing and would always be able to sing on demand at family gatherings.
Both of these men taught me valuable lessons, and I was reminded of one recently as my dad went to visit my mother in the hospital following her hip replacement surgery.
When the door to the elevator opened, my father stepped aside and waited for me to go ahead of him. That happened on every ride on the elevator.
Another older gentleman was on the elevator one day, and he stepped aside when the door opened so I could exit.
I remember my father always opening the car door for my mother, and he told me to expect the same from those I would date.
That tradition seems to have been lost to the majority of the younger generation.
Author, minister and television personality Fred Rogers had fond memories of his grandfather.
“My grandfather was one of those people who loved to live and loved to teach,” Rogers said. “Every time I was with him, he’d show me something about the world or something about myself that I hadn’t even thought of yet.
“He’d help me find something wonderful in the smallest of things and ever so carefully, he helped me understand the enormous worth of every human being.
“My grandfather was not a professional teacher, but the way he treated me (the way he loved me) and the things he did with me, served me as well as any teacher I’ve ever known.”
Not everyone is as blessed as me to have their fathers with them. Many of my friends share missing their dads not just on Father’s Day but every day.
In a recent interview with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, she talked about her recent book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy,” which details how she coped with the sudden loss of her husband and father of their two children. Sandberg co-authored the book with psychologist Adam Grant.
She said she dreaded Father’s Day for her children.
I find it best, when missing my grandparents, to remember the lessons learned from our cherished family members. I remember funny incidents and traditions that continue because of them.
Thanks, Daddy, for everything. And to all the fathers out there, wherever they are, Happy Father’s Day.
East Penn Press
Editor’s Note: If you have a funny or fond memory of your dad, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share with our readers.