This is going to be a different kind of spotlight today. As most if not all folks who come here every day or pretty regularly, you know that I write pretty much what’s on my heart to write about, no matter the subject. And some of you probably know by now that I also write because it’s something that’s always helped me work things out in my mind or as a relief valve- a healing thing.
Writing is cathartic, whether one has a way with words or not. Many people keep journals as a way to sort things out, or create word pictures to help heal inside things, and others just try to capture memories or important things, or even the day to day events that help shape us.
Most of you probably knew I’d write about my Dad sooner or later, and so did I. And I think I need to do it sooner than later, if only to celebrate one of the most important men in my life, one I looked up to all of my life, and one who had most impact on my life.
Most folks love their Dads, even when they’re hard to love or know. There’s something deep about ties and blood, but even when it’s not their blood that runs though us, Dads are a part of who we are, whether we want them to be or not. Sometimes it’s something stronger than blood that ties us to our parents, and those who are adopted know that the parent who desires a child, and chose their child can be an unbreakable and sometimes unfathomable kind of love that blood relations take for granted.
Not because we’re special, but because we’re chosen.
My Mom and Dad chose three kids from different backgrounds to be theirs. And our lives have been blessed because of the parents God gave us.
My Dad was one of a kind, as most kids would say about their Dads. But he really was. One of my cousins shared this ‘painting’ of my Dad recently when word spread through our family’s of his passing. This from my Mom’s side of the family,
“Uncle Ken was never boastful and always wanted to stay in the background. But you couldn’t help but notice, he was a wonderful person who was always happy to see you and have a real one to one conversation filled with humorous innuendo. From my first, to my last conversation with him, I could hear the delight in his voice. He always made me feel important and welcomed as a brother…”
That is such a true picture of the kind of man my Dad was. He wasn’t perfect, and I imagine there were times his humanity showed lol, but for the most part, my Dad never had a spiteful, mean spirited or malice against anyone. He treated folks he’d never met with the same open smile and respect as he did for those he’d known for years. I never heard anyone have anything negative to say about Dad, because he always respected others, so he gained it back.
My Dad had one of those kinds of humors where you weren’t sure if he was kidding or not- except for the twinkle in his eyes. And that twinkle was always present. He and my Mom did everything together, shared many of the same likes and activities. I remember so much both of them being active from the time I was little.
Growing up in Canada, I knew the sport of curling before the world was confused when it came into the Winter Olympics lol. My parents were avid curlers for as long as I can remember- even young enough to be in the kid’s care nursery at the curling club they belonged to when we lived in the city. I remember going and playing, watching favorite TV show (look up Mr. Dress Up lol) and then Mom and Dad coming to get me and take us to the club restaurant for grilled cheese sammiches and chocolate milk. I couldn’t have been much older than 5, but I loved being there and loved eating there with my parents afterwards.
Being a Canadian born and bred kid, I also know hockey. My brother played, and my Dad was coach, not just for my brother’s team, but other teams as well, so Saturday mornings at the arenas were a regular thing for my sister and I to tag along to watch either my brother or one of my Dad’s teams play or practice. And Dad always gave my sister enough money to get us both our own hot chocolate and bag of popcorn 🙂
My Dad… I could go on for hours, but I won’t. He loved to plant flowers, I can’t see a bed of purple bearded Iris’ without thinking about the beds of them which surrounded our backyard pool area. Crab apple trees and hedges, and waves of Iris… He loved to dance with my Mom. And they were so good. Often times at weddings or work parties, my Mom and Dad would get up to dance and folks would move back and just watch. They were always a hit with folks. I loved watching them whether they danced to the big band stuff, or ‘old people’ kinds of waltzes. They were so good together.
My Dad loved horses as much as my Mom, and they owned a couple of race horses. Before we moved to the country, they’d take me for a trip up to the farm to see them. They were beautiful, and I wished I could ride them- but they were fast and not meant for kids. Every time there was a day at the track (when I was old enough) either Mom or Dad would come ask me if I wanted to place a wager lol. So I would. Always bet on #5 whether it was one of theirs or someone elses. They used to laugh at that, except for the fact that I often won 🙂
I’ll never forget the time when we had been living out in the boonies, and I did some gardening/landscaping for a summer, and one of the clients was the richest family in town- who also owned race horses. I happened to be talking with the wife one day and we were talking about horses when I let it slip that Mom and Dad owned Mrs. T. Well the lady knew that horse and confided she’d even bet a few times against her own horses when Mrs. T was racing lol.
Mom and Dad both loved to golf in the summer. Or even winter. They often went on vacations just the two of them in the winter, coming down south to golf with friends. But my Dad worked hard, and always had family vacations during spring break when we were all in the same school break time, and he always provided a summer vacation for us at a rented cottage up north, when he’d come up on weekends.
My Dad was always a hard worker. Started at a printing company sweeping floors when he was 17. By the time he retired, he was Vice President. He worked the presses for years- and never did quite get the ink out from around his finger nails. Man I loved going with my Mom to Dad’s work. The loud presses, the smell of ink, and all the guys there were so nice. They had great family Christmas parties too. The guy who played Santa every year was a close family friend who worked with Dad. Everyone loved and respected him, even when he got off the presses and moved into the management offices.
My Dad loved to read, and play sports, and of course, watch sports. Going to hockey games… the Toronto Maple Leafs down town with my Mom and Dad was always fun, but going to see the Jays… that was me and Dad’s special times. And I will always cherish those times.
We had a lot of laughs, shared a lot of things and just enjoyed each other during those times. It was Dad who taught me how to throw a curve ball, and Dad who tried to teach me how to throw a spit ball lol. It was Dad who played catch with me after a long day of work, and Dad who made me take organ lessons for a few years when my friends had Saturdays to goof off. My Dad was an amazing organist. He loved the sounds, and he loved playing. So many dinner times he’d have a special station on the radio playing the organ music, and often times we’d tell him he was better than half the people on there. We told him he should make an album. He laughed and said, no, because I only play for the love of it and for the enjoyment of it.
Oh. And it was Dad who made me feel like I was the best artist in the world. I taught myself how to paint in oils when I was about 17. One year I gave Dad a set of 4 paintings, the 4 seasons. He was so proud of those, he hung them up in his office. When he retired, he hung them in his home office. And as far as I know, they’re still hanging up somewhere in their house.
He was one of a kind, and my life has been blessed because of him. When I was happy, so was he. When I was hurting, he felt it too. There’s a lot of grown up hurts I kept from my parents, but they knew there were hurts, and they supported my decisions concerning them. My Dad loved, taught, helped, supported, but never coddled and never spoiled- even though he gave much, he wanted his kids to know hard work ethics, thrift, and investing wisely. He could be tough when he had to be, but always with a gentle hand.
Lord I have missed him much by living so far away, but I always had that hope to see him again. There’s a big spot that’s empty and will be without him, but still God has blessed me with a life time of memories to keep that spot filled until the day… some day, when I will see him again.
I’m grateful beyond words that God allowed American boy and I to talk to him for a bit a few days before he left us. But more grateful that I was able to say “I love you” before we hung up. I can hear his voice in my head still “I love you too.”
Thank you guys for allowing me to share my Dad, and one of the biggest parts of my life here. Celebrating him with me.
I’ve hogged this space for more words than I intended, even though I could find a years worth of posts and still not exhaust the memories that flood my mind. I would love it though if there is someone, parent, friend… anyone who has blessed your life, who has gone from this life, to share them with us. Because this porch isn’t only about me- it’s about all of us, and those special folks who have helped shape us.
Even if you can’t find the words, find a song or few which remind you of them. Or makes you think about them. And share here. Share photos too if you have them. And we’ll help each other share this special spotlight of love♥
I don’t know if Dad would have liked this or not, but it sure makes me think of him now… I pray I will always make him proud.
Have a blessed and beautiful Sunday all!