Happy Father’s Day!

     What can I say about my dad? He is the most hardworking, loving and intelligent man I know. He would do anything in the world for me, my brother and my mom. He is a good man. Plain and simple. Of course, there are times when he drives us all nuts, but that’s part of his quintessential charm.
     Dad is the life of every party. When his blue eyes twinkle, God only knows what he’s thinking or what’s coming next. He is definitely not the most politically correct person you will ever meet, but he is one of the most entertaining. The songs he wrote for his coworkers’ retirement parties were legendary. He even had backup singers. And those backup singers accompanied me during the retirement song I wrote and performed for him.
     People who meet my mother for the first time usually start the conversation with, “We always wondered who could put up with him. Is he like that all the time?”
     She answers, “Yes, he is. We’ve been together for over fifty years. And I haven’t killed him yet.”
     However, there were times when we wondered if he was trying to kill us. His vacations were death-defying adventures. Seriously. If we didn’t come close to getting maimed or killed, it wasn’t a good vacation. He got several ideas from those nice people in National Geographic. That should paint you a better picture right there.
     Imagine if you will a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old and their parents, wearing regular sneakers, carrying no food or water, clinging to chains driven into the side of a cliff with railroad spikes, navigating narrow ledges to reach Havasu Falls at the bottom of The Grand Canyon. Oh, I forgot to mention that we also had heavy camera equipment around our necks. That crazy family was us. We have the pictures and video to prove it.
     Growing up, Dad was the cool dad. He rigged up a car stereo and 6×9 speakers in the garage, so we could listen to music outside. He would play oldies or rock, sometimes country. This was while the neighbor across the street was broadcasting Willie Nelson, or the soundtrack from Evita or the soundtrack from Les Mis.
     Don’t get me wrong, I love Evita and Les Mis now, but listening to those soundtracks as a child was depressing. So, thank God, Dad’s system was louder. To this day, he still cranks it up loud. Of course now that might be because his hearing isn’t what it used to be.
     When he would bring home a new car, the neighborhood boys would come over to “oooh” and “aaah” over it. They’d ask tons of questions that he was more than happy to answer. Then he’d spend the next two hours washing it.
     I think I volunteered him to be the DJ for my 8th grade ’50s/’60s sock hop. He lugged his record player, a slew of records, stereo system and speakers to the school. Everybody, including the teachers, had a blast. He even came up with a trivia game and handed out prizes.
     In high school, he took me to all of the Father/Daughter Dinner Dances. We danced energetically to the fast songs. And we serenaded each other as we danced to the slow songs. We were quite the pair!
     He was proud when I followed in his footsteps and went to GMI Engineering & Management Institute. (It was General Motors Institute when he went there.) I was mortified when I had to explain my Dad’s nickname for me to my college roommate. She answered the phone, and he thought it was me and greeted her, “Hi, Poozlet!”
     Yeah, don’t ask.
     On my wedding day, we were alone in the bride’s room waiting to walk down the aisle. I was nervous, and he was making jokes trying to calm my nerves. But then he got serious for a moment. He said, “I’m assuming your mother had the talk with you.”
     Oh dear God. Did he really just say that? I’m going to die now. Of embarrassment or something. I laughed. Mom and I had the talk when I was ten years old.
      “Yeah, Dad. We had the talk.”
      “Okay. Good.”
     I wonder what he would have done if I had said, “No.” I can only imagine!
     Mom and Dad came to stay with me when I had cancer. I remember waking up from surgery. Mom wore her usual cheerful caregiver smile. But Dad had what we now jokingly refer to as “Dad Face.”
     “Dad Face” is the look he gets when he wants to fix whatever is wrong, but is helpless to do so. Because ultimately, it is out of his control. It’s a very concerned, worried, loving look.
     Mom and I learned quickly that we had to assign him some tasks. That way he felt useful and accomplished something.
     When I was going through my divorce, “Dad Face” returned. Heck, for a while, Mom even had “Dad Face.” Actually, almost everyone I knew had “Dad Face.” Hard not to since I was sobbing at the drop of a hat.
     Anyway, now that Dad’s retired, he’s busier than ever. When he’s not out washing his cars or doing yardwork, he’s fishing. He frequently says, “A bad day of fishing is still better than the best day at work.”
     Mr. Catch and Release has said it enough times, we believe him. Plus, he does come back with some really interesting fish stories. However, it still boggles the mind. This is a man who is always in a rush and hates waiting in lines. Yet, he will spend hours, days and sometimes weeks fishing. Sometimes on the shore or in a boat. Most of the time in waders standing chest deep in a stream.
     Fly fishing is his favorite type of fishing. Although he sometimes uses corn. Niblets to be precise. From a can. Apparently, it works. He’s catching a lot of fish with niblets. Who knew? Niblets!
     And when he’s not fishing, he’s planning meals. Breakfast with his brothers, Old Farts luncheons (his words, not mine), and dinners with everyone else my parents know. Their social calendar is booked out for weeks. They are popular people. Well, I guess with him you do get a meal and a comedy act.
     Most of all, my Dad wants me to be happy and feel loved. I consider myself very lucky, blessed, happy and loved because I have him for a Dad. And no matter how old I get, I will always be his little girl.

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

Mom’s Thoughts on Online Dating

     This is not a typical Mother’s Day post. But, it does have to do with my Mom’s deep love and concern. I love her dearly for her advice and for wanting the very best for me. And sometimes, I find humor in our daily exchanges. Yes, I talk to my mother (and father) every day. Despite the 600 miles that physically separate us, we are a close-knit family. And I would not want it any other way. (The close-knit part, not the distance part!)
     The mere thought of me plunging into online dating has sent my mother into a bit of a tizzy. But for those of us over 40, let’s face it, we do not have many other alternatives.

     “I don’t like the idea of you doing this online dating thing.”
     I sigh heavily. “Uh huh.”
     “Did you see Criminal Minds this week?”
     “Yes.”
     “You saw what happened to those girls?”
     “Yes.”
     “I’d feel better if one of your friends set you up with someone.”
     “You know they tried. But the guys were all old.”
     “Age shouldn’t matter.”
     “In theory, I agree. But I’m not attracted to old men.”
     “They all weren’t that old.”
     “They were closer to your age than to mine. That doesn’t work for me.”
     “How will you know if these online men are who they say they are?”
     “I don’t. But that could happen no matter how I meet a guy.”
     “Don’t ever meet a man at his house.”
     “I know. I’m not stupid. I would meet him at a restaurant or some public place.”
     “One with good lighting in the parking lot.”
     Rolling my eyes, I reply, “Yes, one with good lighting.”
     “So how does this work exactly?”
     “Everyone fills out a profile with interests and stuff. Then some computer program matches us up based on our profiles.”
     “But they could lie and use someone else’s picture.”
     “Yes, they could. But that would be pretty stupid. And I wouldn’t sign up for a free site. I’d use one you have to pay for. That should weed out some of the riff-raff.”
     “I love you, and I just want you to be happy.”
     “I know. I love you too.”
     “Let’s change the subject.”
     “Okay. Thank you.” I am relieved.
     “So, did you see the segment on the news about The Villages?”
     (The Villages is a popular retirement community in Florida.)
     “No, I didn’t.”
     “Well, there has been a drastic rise in STDs among the residents. Since the women can’t get pregnant, they’re not practicing safe sex. The men are spreading venereal diseases around like wildfire.”

     And that’s my mom – master of subtlety!

Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Purewal