Dad and Me

I was watching a life insurance commercial yesterday.  A couple in their 60s or 70s were sitting in the backyard, each with open arms as their grandkids ran across the grass towards them.

There was a closeup of the man and I paused to look.  “He’s familiar” roamed into my head.  And then an older gentleman came rushing through … my father.  Dad died in 1988.

I remembered all that well-combed grey hair.  And then I paused again.  The fellow on TV also reminded me of someone else … me.  In this world of coronavirus, I’m long and grey.

“I’m just like my dad.”

How did this happen?  The last time I looked, I was 25, fresh off a summer at the Prince of Wales Hotel in the Canadian Rockies.  A hippieish young man.  Had long hair back then too.

Mom always described Dad as a “card” and she was right.  Big smiles and silly jokes.  I used to cringe when the family was out driving in Toronto and we’d be approaching a cemetery.  I knew what was coming: “People are just dying to get in there!”

In the years since, I’ve been known to say a dumb thing or two myself.  (Me with a friend: “I’ve been working out a lot lately and my arms are getting really big.  But I’m worried that I’m becoming … biceptual.”  Folks groan with me just as I did with Dad.)

Dad used to dress up for kids’ parties.  All sorts of weird colours and costumes.  Hmm.  I know a similar guy who donned a pillow-laden Santa suit quite a few times.  Or created truly strange getups for elementary school Halloween dances.

Dad is long gone and also absolutely here with me.  I believe he’s proud of who I’ve become.  I honour him for his contributions to his family, his church and his community.

I love you, Dad

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