Friday, June 15, 2007

Da

You talk about your Mom a lot. What’s your Dad like, Hedy?

He’s been Da to me for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why or where it came from, but he’s Da.

Maybe it’s because he gave me my nickname – Hedy – when I was just a few days old.

Hearing him say “Hiya, Hed” makes me smile like a little kid. Every time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I must’ve been around three or four years old. Way before the remote control made it too easy to change the channels.

We had this ginormous (to me, at the time, anyway) Magnavox console TV with the shiniest, reddish brown finish I’ve ever seen. It was gorgeous.

It had a huge dial for changing the channels to 2 or 4 or 7 and sometimes 50.

“Hedy, change the channel to 4,” he said, from the big green La-Z-Boy recliner.

What?

I was petrified. To touch the TV, let alone change the channel.

“You can do it, Hedy,” he insisted.

“I CAN’T!” I said, near tears.

“Yes, you can. Do it,” he said sternly.

With small, sweaty hands I reached up to that great big scary dial. And slowly, carefully turned it.

It might seem like an inconsequential thing to you.

But to me, it was a Defining Moment. It's a lesson that echoes through everything I do.

When that small, awful voice of self doubt starts yammering away, I close my eyes and hear Da saying: “You can do it, Hedy.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It’s December and we’re bringing down Mom’s mountains of Christmas decorations from the attic.

Da is up at the top of the stairs handing things down to us. Us is me, my brother Eric, and David, my boyfriend at the time.

It was a long process and we were all pretty crabby and dusty towards the end.

“Here’s a box of ornaments,” Da said. “Be careful.”

“Here’s the wreath.”

“Here are the outside lights, put those over in the corner.”

Finally, he got to the last box. The three of us looked up expectantly at Da, leaning down with that trademark half-serious grin.

“And here. Here’s the goddamned manger.”

Thanks to Da, every manger, anywhere (especially in my own house, dragging out decorations in December) is referred to as The Goddamned Manger.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Da also taught me:

How to throw a Frisbee
How to throw a punch
How to use a clutch
How to handle a gun

He believes that you’re never too old to climb a tree. That you’re never too old to ride a motorcycle. That a long walk in the woods will fix just about anything.

Da is the one who taught me to love words, to love what language can do to you. To love silly puns and limericks.

He taught me to appreciate dry humor. That playing outside is important. And that laughing at a funeral is not only okay, it is expected.

He’s why I love The Three Stooges. Why I love to go fast. Why I measure my words and speak only when there’s something worth saying.

He’s my Da.

And he is without question the best father a girl could ever ask for.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am listening to: The Happy Da’s Day Mix
I am reading: Nothing
And I am: Wishing all the great dads I know a heartfelt Happy Father's Day!

5 comments:

Dave said...

Happy Fathers Day, Da!

How to throw a punch?

msmoo1 said...

When I was young my papa would come home from work, pick me up, touch my head to the ceiling and then give me a kiss!

miss

spike said...

-my dad taught me how to fish
-my dad taught me how to play hockey, baseball and football
-my dad always told me..."winners never quit....quitters never win"
-my dad taught me to treat ladies with the utmost respect
-my dad took me to Detroit Tiger games
-my dad sat in a cold hockey rink 6 days a week for me...for 11 yrs
-my dad was a teacher/principle for 34 yrs
-my dad is my idol
-my dad is gone...and I miss him so much!

Hedy said...

Of course. A girl's GOTTA know how to throw a punch!

Dave said...

Spike,

My list for my Dad would be similar. I'd substitute coming to every wresting meet I had for the hockey stuff and him being a Butcher for the education career. I didn't learn to appreciate him till I got to be an adult. That left too little time till it turned out that I missed him.

Still Hedy, a punch? A quick kick to the whatever is enough. A knock out punch would be just too embarrassing.