June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

I have a baby bunny in my backyard, that I have decided is mine, though all my neighbours have also laid claim. He is forgiven for eating plants in every yard, and the cooing comes from every window. But, he is my bunny.

Usually on this day, we would be planning a joint Father's Day/birthday thing for my Dad. His birthday is on the 21st, and it often coincided exactly with Father's Day. He wasn't the kind of guy you bought ties for, or shirts, or anything, really. He liked what he already had, and was highly resistant to change. He would hold up a new golf shirt someone had paid too much for (he never golfed), and say "oh, say", smile, and my mother would put it in the drawer, and he would continue wearing his old crappy stuff unless my mother could coerce him into it.

We'd give him subscriptions to Cottage Living or Outdoor Life, or Equinox before they canned it. We'd buy cards my mom would read, and prop on the mantel. He collected coins and brass things and old tools, but as with most collections, the choices are better made by the collector. The fact we could open our wallets meant little; he was most impressed if you'd had to hunt high and low and then got something for free.

The only thing I remember my Dad every wanting was for us to be around. He liked sitting at the head of the dinner table, watching us. We were noisy and spirited (still are - as are the grandkids), and he would polish off in ten minutes a meal it had taken my mother hours to prepare. Then he would leave the table and go sit outside, or upstairs. The grandkids would trail after him, and we would continue to eat and drink and wonder how our father could eat an entire meal in ten minutes, especially one created in his honour.

I'm reading a varity of odes to Fathers all over the press today, from perfect dads to missing dads to loathesome dads. One guy in Salon is bitching that, the second time around in his 50s, he's simply too old for the mundane, constant white noise of children. Well, no kidding. I was too old for it at 27. It's not a particularly insightful piece, but I was left wondering what he really expected. With any luck at all, parents bring very different things to their children. My mother had the patience of a saint; my father had the temper of Satan sitting on a tack.

He's been dead nearly 11 years. His final years were tough, and his medical condition agitated his unique personality. He wanted special treatment, but was angry if he discovered you were giving it to him. In many ways, you couldn't win. But in all the important ways, you couldn't lose. He was my father until the very end, interested in everything I was doing even if he couldn't take part in all of it. I was his child until the day he died.

That wee bunny is hopping around what used to be my father's yard. He would be furious that it is eating so many plants, but when nobody was looking, he would be tossing it scraps and talking to it.

Miss you, Pop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again for touching my heart & bringing a tear to my eye - I too loved my Dad with all my heart & was able to help him in his late years to his utter delight- I miss him everyday - he's gone 12 years on July 4th. How lucky we were to have such memorable fathers. This must be the year of the bunnies - my friend Donna (an avid animal lover) is ecstatic with one in her yard & puts carrots & other tasty tidbits out to keep it there. Nature is wonderful. Have a great weekend. Sandie (the Avon lady)

June 17, 2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you got me too. I miss Dad terribly, warts and all.

June 17, 2007 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

L, you've done it again.

My "Pa" is still with us, but barely,& we wonder which Fathers day, Birthday or Christmas will be his last.

He has touched a lot of souls, as I'm sure your Father did, and I don't know what I'll do when he's gone.

Be aware that you helped make him a very proud Papa today, and me a proud Dad.

Thanks for sharing your gifts.


June 18, 2007 3:59 PM  

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