18

Daddy GradThe number of years since my beloved dad died.

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.

Saudade indeed.

10 Comments

Filed under In Memoriam

10 responses to “18

  1. Old AF Sarge

    Thanks for sharing this Kris. ‘Twas beautiful.

  2. Hogday

    A treasure indeed. `Absence from those we love is self from self – a deadly banishment`.

  3. Buck

    An excellent tribute and one of the reasons… THE reason, actually… I SO wanted a daughter. But we shall make do with My Three Sons and their offspring, which include six granddaughters and two great-granddaughters. Close enough.

    • Old AF Sarge

      Granddaughters are, if that’s possible, even more of a treasure. In many ways, you are a lucky man.

  4. Kris, I’ve told this to my son and it has not yet sunk in.
    A father has a son and he will grow up to be a man.
    A father has a daughter and no matter what her age she will always be his little girl.

  5. Bill Brandt

    It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, (protecting its sanity), covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But, it is never gone.
    Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

  6. fuzz1

    “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.”

    Your entire post was beautifully written. Thank you especially for these words. I would’ve written the same thing about my father, had I the tools you put to this effort. Thank you for giving me the words. My father was the kind of man who floated effortlessly from hanging with the gas station attendant to meeting the mayor… and left each of them having acquired a new friend who thought themselves lucky to know him.

  7. virgil xenophon

    A wonderful heart-felt tribute, Kris..

  8. I’m glad I could share a little bit of my dad with you all. He’d have loved this group almost as much as I do.
    Fuzz – I am glad you found comfort in my description of my dad; I’d say you found your own words to describe a man who left you FAR too soon. xoxo

  9. Isaac Baker

    Kris, I’m the father of a daughter, I hope someday she writes of me in some similar way. Married to an active duty SEAL she may be, and her husband is the son of my house, I’m still “daddy”.

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