Keeping it simple with Father's Day
June 13, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 12, 2013) -- My 40-something brain regularly forgets that my sunglasses are on my head, can't remember where I parked, and compels me to walk around my house mumbling to myself, "Now, why did I come in here again?"
However, I have an incredibly detailed memory of my childhood.
I don't have a chronological recollection of my upbringing; instead, I have a memory of certain mundane, unimportant occurrences like climbing my neighbor's tree or eating dry Tang out of the jar with my licked finger. It's as if I can transport myself back in time and re-experience all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings all over again.
Sometimes, if I look at snapshots or home movies, I can artificially remember the events depicted. However, other than a couple shaky 8 mm films in my mother's attic and a few yellowing photo albums -- my Family did not regularly memorialize events on film.
A couple weeks ago, I was at Walmart buying cards for Father's Day. Our kids think their dad is the greatest thing since Double Fudge Cookie Dough Blizzards, so they were happy to help. While they looked for cards, I figured I'd get one for my own father.
I read card after card, but could only mumble, grimace and shake my head. None seemed to fit my complex circumstances, described our complicated relationship or communicated the vastly mixed emotions and unique bond my father and I have.
The kids were done, so I sent them to find a gallon of milk to buy me more time.
"Stop overthinking this," I said to myself. "There must be something here that you can send to dad."
Although a lot has happened since I was young, before picking up another card, I tried to remember how I felt about my dad when I was a kid. I thought back to a time when I was just a kid and he was just my dad.
As the details of my childhood awoke from hibernation, vivid scenes began to flash in my mind. Dad taking out his false tooth (college football accident) on a family road trip, and talking to the tollbooth operator with a fake hillbilly accent, just to make my brother and me laugh. Dad letting me skip school to go with him to Pittsburgh for business, and me throwing up peanut butter cookies in the A/C vents of his Buick on the way.
Dad lying shirtless on the floor so me and my brother could draw on his back with ink pens while he watched golf tournaments. Dad lecturing my brother and me at the dinner table on report card day. Dad explaining to the police officer why he was teaching me how to do doughnuts in the icy natatorium parking lot after swim practice. Dad handing me an old tube sock filled with tools -- a small hammer, screwdrivers, pliers -- before I left for college. Dad nervously walking me down the isle at my wedding.
One memory led to another, and to another.
Then, my mind was seized by one final recollection, which ended my paralyzing over-analysis. I could see my father lifting me from the back seat of our station wagon. I had fallen asleep on the way home, but woke up when my parents pulled into the driveway. I kept my eyes closed and pretended, allowing my arms to drape around my father's neck and my head to lie upon his shoulder. I bobbed gently as he walked through the house and into my bedroom, where he laid me in my mock brass bed, removed my shoes and tucked the covers around my little frame.
I felt him kiss my forehead. He stood there, waited a moment then turned and left the room.
Suddenly, the Father's Day cards on the rack at Walmart had relevance.
My father raised me, protected me, cared for me, loved me and I love and appreciate him.
Read more by Lisa Smith Molinari at her blog www.themeatandpotatoesoflife.com.