Looking Back


It was just about five years ago that I found out I was pregnant.  And it was five years ago, on Father’s Day, that I decided to tell my sisters and mom.  It was also five years ago that I spent my first Father’s day without my father.  Dan, Danny, Dad, he was an interesting guy to say the least.  He was the dad cheering me on at my softball game, but he was also the dad that would yell at the umpire for a bad call and totally embarrass you.  He was the dad that liked to take us shopping for clothes, but he was also the dad who would get angry at the lady behind the register for not taking a return back because he didn’t have the receipt.  I have stories like you wouldn’t believe and while some of them are crazy, he was my dad and I loved him so.  One of my favorite stories about my dad was one that I never heard until we were all at the hospital in his last moments of life.  It involves my dad, his motor home, and the fire department.  Oh man, my crazy dad.  He climbed up on the top of the motor home to adjust the dish satellite and then realized he was unable to get down.  Along with the cancer came neuropathy (loss of feeling) in his legs, and weakness.  Despite being in his 40’s he was physically an “old man”.  And so there he was stuck on top of the motor home, but too embarrassed to call for help.  My dad had Patti drive him from the parking lot of Wal-Mart, where they went to test out the functions of their new purchase, to the back of the store where the trucks load and unload.  If Patti could just get the motor home positioned just right maybe he could just jump into a dumpster (Can you even imagine???  I mean, seeing some guy hanging on to the top of the motor home while she is driving it AND to think that he thought, I am not strong enough to back down this ladder, but I should probably be able to jump into a dumpster, pull myself out and be okay).  Luckily for him he didn’t jump and gave in and called the fire department.  The phone call went something like this, “Listen up, I am stuck on top of the motor home in the back of Wal-Mart and I need help getting down.  Listen carefully, I don’t want any sirens going, no honking, just come to the back of the store.”  And so they did and they put their ladder up next to the motor home and a nice fireman helped my dad down.  I have heard of firemen rescuing cats out of trees, but never men from motor homes.

He was far from normal,

In fact, he was strange,

But there’s not a thing

I’d want to change.

He knew what he liked

It was always the same,

A slushy Dr. Pepper

And a card game.

Trips to the desert,

Chocolate milk over ice,

Pillsbury frosting,

Without the cake slice.

Thousand Island,

His little dog “Moch”,

Crispy bacon,

And a Marlboro smoke.

American Idol,

Amazing Race,

All My Children,

Oh what a disgrace!

Angels baseball,

The USA,

Popeye’s Chicken,

Morning or day.

Lounging around

In his underwear.

Talking the ear off

Of whoever was there.

Ferbies and Beanies

Were his thing for awhile.

Luckily that fad

Was fast out of style.

In the big picture

These things seem small.

But this is my dad,

My friend:  My ALL.

I love you dad.

Love, Punkin

(I wrote this shortly after he passed away and read it at the funeral)

I do think of my dad on Father’s day and I have many fond memories.  Though my girls never got the chance to meet him, Piper knows who he is and points to pictures of him and calls him Grandpa Dan.  Even though he left the earth only 2 weeks after his 50th birthday, I am happy that I got 26 years with him.  I was a senior in high school when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the questions and emotions were numerous.  I remember writing in my journal about my dad not being there to walk me down the aisle.  But he was able to!  And not only walk me down the aisle, but we even took dance lessons and danced at my wedding to “Green Eyed Lady”.  Boy was that an experience, taking dance lessons with some who doesn’t have feeling in his legs.  I told him, we didn’t have to do this, but he wanted to and we did!  We had to practice a lot, simplify even more, but we did it!  And do you know what?  In his last bit of consciousness in the hospital, he started moving his foot and mumbling the words to the song.  I will never forget that.

And now, my husband is called Daddy, Dada, and Dad by our two little girls and I cherish the memories they are making with him.  Tatum’s face truly lights up when I tell her daddy is home.  She starts kicking and wants down if I am holding her, waves and squeals, “Dada, dada”.  He means so much to my girls and I don’t underestimate the small things that are shared between them.  Things like the nonsensical talk that Brian and Piper do (and Tatum too, but that is because all of her talk is babbling) and their foreign money collection, the vitamins Brian gets out every morning for Piper.  These may seem small, but when I think about my dad, I can’t help to think about Dr. Pepper.  It is just a compilation of the little things in life that make us who we are.

This Father’s day, we went down to Crystal Cove, one of our favorite spots as a family.  We love the tide pools and we love that it feels like you have stepped back in time.  Brian packed some suits, and like many dads, didn’t realize that the suit he packed for Piper was 12-18 months, one of Tatum’s suits.  Piper wore the when we took her swimming on her first birthday and some how she managed to fit into it still!  I don’t know how that is possible.  We spent the day walking, playing in the water, eating at The Beachcomber and looking for cool critters in the tide pools.  It was a wonderful day.

Checking the surf

Tatum the Walker

9 responses »

  1. This one made me cry. I do miss your Dad. I will always remember the way he called my name. It always sounded kinda stern like he was mad at me. Funny the things you remember about people.

  2. Sweet, Brooke. Teared up reading this.He was a special man with lots of fun quirks! I remember when he would drive crazy down the street swerving the car all over the road. I was nervous and excited at the same time.

    • You know, we have these friends and often time when we are together for dinner, the husband will say, “Brooke, I think I am in the mood for one of your stories about your dad.” I honestly don’t know anyone like him. Brian’s grandma comes close though. She just turned 90 a few weeks ago, and at her party someone asked her what the secret to such a long happy life was. She said, “G-U-T-S. Guts! You have to have guts, people these day are just too wimpy!” Sounds like something my dad would have said.

  3. Well Brooke you managed to make me cry again I guess I should grab a tissue before I start reading your blogs-I Loved that poem Your Dad was like the Brother I never had he came into my life when I was 8 and I loved him so-every time we play liverpool rummy we have so many stories to tell about him also the dr. pepper, thousand island and driving like a maniac down the emergency lane trying to get us to the airport on time He was a character indeed and is deeply missed

  4. Pingback: just one more « Perfect Piece of Time

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