It just can’t be that long. That much time, that many experiences, can’t have just slipped by under cover of darkness.
But – they have.
That’s him over there at the tender age of 18. He was handsome, my dad. Quite the ladies man if the signatures in his yearbook are anything to go by. And yes, I do have that amazing treasure – the yearbook from his senior year in high school. In fact daddy remained a ladies man until he died. He was so charming, so charismatic, so – beloved.
Even today, people who knew him will remark that my dad was … cool. And so he was.
And I miss him. I miss the smell of him – he never wore cologne and yet he always had a unique scent that was a combination of shaving cream, cigarette smoke and gasoline. I know it doesn’t sound particularly appealing and yet – to me they are as aromatic as lilacs on a summer day. Today even one of those smells will take me back to my 8 year old self, rushing out of the house on a Saturday morning with daddy, driving to the “garage” where he’d hang out with his car buddies, perhaps supervise the latest restoration work on his newest toy.
Daddy used to say that fine men went to good schools and programs to become mechanics, autobody techs and the like – and he felt it was his duty to support them in their chosen careers. I don’t think my dad – as much of a car fanatic as he was – ever even changed his own oil.
He was a man among men – always. He would enter a room full of strangers and leave a room full of friends; friends who would think nothing of laying down their lives for him. Daddy instilled deep loyalty in anyone he met; and the beauty of that was it was deserved.
He had his faults just like the rest of us and yet – he was an honorable man who lived a life of hard work and hard play.
Daddy and I had that special bond that fathers do with their daughters; and ours was more special than most. We communicated differently than others – I was so much a part of him, so very much his and his alone, that we were inside each other’s thoughts alot of the time. Oh we’d have our disagreements – and daddy let no one else in his life go toe-to-toe with him like he’d let me. Every so often, he’d let me win.
I look like him, my mannerisms are his – I think like him, I write like him.
And I was – and will always be – his princess.