It’s almost two years since I lost my Dad, and I miss him every day. And as time passes, I realize just how much impact he had on my life and the times shared that are forever burned into memory.
I remember growing up and spending weekends at Coney Island, buying freshly caught blue fish off the back of fishing boats. I remember foot long hot dogs and cotton candy on the boardwalk, and the raw bars we used to hang out at, eating clams and oysters. I remember Sunday afternoon barbecues with the family, swimming in the pool on a hot summer afternoon to cool off because the air conditioners weren’t in the windows yet, and standing at the top of the stairs Christmas morning, waiting for everyone to use the bathroom before we could open Santa’s gifts by the tree. I remember New Year’s Eve cocktails that were always served on a tray, belly photos at every family reunion, and boating to Greenport where we’d drink beer and enjoy a balmy, Long Island breeze.
And I remember Dad playing “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof on the record player, as the photographer took pictures of him and me the day I got married.
But, in the background of all these wonderful memories are some of the most important, and potent, life lessons that Dad imparted on me. Whether shared on purpose or not, these lessons had a significant impact that only now, as I mature, do I recognize just how meaningful they are.
So, in honor of Dad and Father’s Day, these are the things that Dad made a part of his life, and that are now a part of me:
- Eat anything you want, as long as it’s in moderation.
- There’s nothing like a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon.
- Sing, and loudly. It’ll put a smile on your face.
- The stinkier the cheese, the tastier it is.
- If you’re thirsty, drink water.
- Tell the ones you love that you love them. Every day.
- There’s nothing like family.
- Lobster tails should always be grilled.
- Follow tradition. Then pass it on.
- Keep your wants simple. Life gives you all you need.
I miss you Dad.
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It’s been over 20 years since my dad died, but I still miss him, too. He was extremely intelligent, honest, hard working, loving and had a great sense of humor, and was always supportive of all six of his children. Family was very important to him. He also loved to play cards and was very competitive at it. Playing cards was a family activity.
We have a lot in common with our dads, Gloria. I learned how to play poker during family card games with my dad.
Was your father’s boat named after the Dean Martin song? Love the song. Your dad seems like a great guy. I’m glad you have wonderful memories.
Thanks, EB. I DO have wonderful memories. And no, the name of the boat came from Mom and Dad always saying, whenever we showed up at the house, for a party, for a barbecue, for the holidays … whatever it was … “you’re just in time”. And the rest of the saying would be, “for cocktails”, or “to relax with us” or “for dinner”. Whatever it was, any of us were “just in time”. 🙂