Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

My dad used to take my brother and me to the library every Friday night while my mother did the grocery shopping. He loved books. He used to have a big stack of them next to his chair in the living room. Once or twice I picked up one of them and found a sexy scene or phrase and I was shocked. I wondered whether Dad would be shocked and appalled when he got to that part.

My dad used to take us with a sack of stale bread to feed the ducks in the pond at Glen Oak Park in Peoria, Illinois. My brother would eat the bread, which I found appalling.

We went to Lake Storey and and Jubilee Park and Starved Rock and lots of other places. He grilled hamburgers till they were like the charcoal briquets used in the barbecue. I climbed up to the very high diving board and then, in humiliation, climbed down again. Dad encouraged me and I finally did jump off it. He would tell me to swim to him in the water, but he kept moving back so I would have to swim farther.

He wore a khaki work suit of some kind in the garage and I remember him wearing it when he tried to help us nurse a baby rabbit with a doll bottle. He helped me plant watermelon seeds in our first house and I was broken-hearted when we moved to another house and I never got to see if they would grow.

Dad would try and read the paper on the back porch and the little neighbor girl would come over and pester him. "Know what, Mr. Willis? Know what?"

He wore a hat when he went to work.

He woke me up every day and rubbed my back.

He went to church every Sunday for 60 years with my mother and never converted to her faith.

He slipped me money sometimes when I went out the door in my teen years.
He barbecued chicken on the back patio until it was like shoe leather. I grew up eating shoe leather of every kind--beef, pork, chicken, you name it.

He hated tuna noodle casserole.

He put sliced hot dogs in chicken noodle soup. In fact, to him there was no meal that couldn't be enhanced by sliced hot dogs.

"Who gave the kid that goddamn snake?" he yelled when my brother coiled it in front of the car tire on our trip to Florida.

There are too many.

I love him and honor him.



At 7:26 AM , Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

This is beautiful. What a wonderful father you had. What lovely memories.

At 10:44 PM , Blogger blogsurfer said...

What are you looking for today?

At 10:59 PM , Blogger blogme said...

What are you looking for today?


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