Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

A sense of humor is a glorious thing!  It gives you the ability to find the positive in even the most difficult situations, that threaten the very fabric of your sanity!  It is a rare ability to be able to laugh in the face of fear, and turn that humor onto yourself...laughing at your own mistakes and the strange moments you sometimes find yourself in.  I learned all about the subtleties of humor, and the healing power of laughter from my father.  And so in celebration of Father's Day (June 19th,) let me tell you some funny stories about the man who taught me to laugh, and still to this day puts a smile on my face!

I may have mentioned before how popular my father is.  If not...well, I'll tell you now--he's very POPULAR!  Not just in an 'everyone seems to like him' sort of way, but in an 'everyone knows his NAME' sort of way.  It was a lot like growing up with that guy Norm from Cheers...minus all the beer.  Wherever we would go throughout my childhood, and I really mean wherever...we would always run into someone who knew him.  This could be someone he met from church, his years working for the state...even from when he was a child.  Sounds kind of cool, right?  Well, it could be I guess...but for people like my mother and me who lean toward the shy side, hearing strangers yell my father's name anytime we left the house was a little disconcerting!  It has become a running joke between us, as his numerous fans constantly cause me to roll my eyes and sigh...so when I am not around to enjoy it first-hand, he makes sure to call me at the next opportunity to share the latest 'fan club' news.  Once a few years ago we all went out to The Outback Restaurant to have dinner.  A woman in her 80's passed by, helped down the stairs by her daughter.  I thought nothing of it, and continued following my father toward the steps.  The next thing I knew, this well seasoned voice rang out with enthusiasm, "Is that N?"  Oh, lord...I thought to myself.  Here we go AGAIN.  It turns out she lived on his street when he was just 4 years old...and recognized him 70 years later!  It is quite amazing that my father commands such a presence, as to be recognized after that length of time...and the look on her face as he turned around to greet her shone with the same joy I see on all the other strangers' faces.  They all feel better just to know him!  (I still want to roll my eyes when it happens, and often wish I could just melt into the background...but it is what it is!)

I know my mother is thinking You'll make his head swell with all your talk! and she's probably right...though I was warned that I had to come up with an even better Father's Day post, after I posted about my mom on her special day.  And so I had to boost his ego just a little bit!  But the last thing I want to do is give you the wrong impression...my father is not just about the fans, and the popularity.  He is also smart, funny and often goofy...and able to laugh at himself at every turn.  Specific stories stick out in my head, such as the time he 'cheated death' while trying to complete the simple task of mowing the lawn at camp!  He ended up in a sink hole, clinging desperately to the lawn mower to keep from falling deeper.  He has actually cheated death a few times, and loves to tell the story of when he was 2 years old and riding in the back seat of the family station wagon...they turned a sharp corner and the door next to my father flew open--and out flew my dad!  Luckily it was winter, and he was wearing one of those super-padded one piece snowsuits with a hood.  He came out of that one surprisingly unscathed!  And along with the strange situations my father has found himself in throughout his life, there are also those silly moments he loves to talk about...such as the time he saw Stevie Wonder walking through a train station, and enthusiastically began waving hello, to the amusement of his co-workers!  Or the time he demonstrated his wonderful fashion sense to all of my 13 year old peers, as he picked me up at the end of summer camp wearing a white dress shirt with purple flowers, tan shorts, black socks pulled up to the knees and sandals.  No, really...I'm still trying to forget that one!

In the face of all the fans, bad fashion and silly moments, there is one consistent thing--my father's sense of humor!  He taught me it was okay to laugh at myself and at life, and so far it has helped me get through it.  When things are at their worst I may cry and yell and even get angry, but at the end of the day I turn to humor to find my way.  So, thank you Dad, for teaching me how!  And to all of my regular readers--you will not see another post from me until after the 26th of June, as I am headed up to Schroon Lake for a much needed vacation (and there's no internet at camp!)  Hopefully I will come back with many beautiful pictures, and even more funny stories!  Until then, here is an Irish blessing dedicated to all the fathers out there, especially my own...Happy Father's Day!

May the father of us all
bless our oul' fellas,
wherever they might be...
at home in dear old Ireland,
or across the shining sea.

In heaven with the angels
or on earth still with us...
may God be good to the
dear old dad,
the one we love so much!


  1. Knowing this fine man, all I can say is this - you are correct! He is one of a kind and I wish him a happy father's day too! You are a lucky daughter!

  2. Thank you for reminding us to use humor to get us through our tougher day !
    Your loving tribute to your father brought many smiles to my face, and some laughter . How wonderfull you have such a loving relationship with your family , it's truely a blessing .
    Knowing your father from attending several concerts, I've found him to be a very gentle man , kind spirited , with a smile and demeaner to put anyone at ease upon meeting him . I shall always hold these opinions , but with a fleeting mentle image of that small tyke bouncing from the car with the extra padded snow suit !
    An additional Grand Father's Day Deacon Hook !
    Enjoy your vacation Christine , we'll look forward to your return , and those womderfull photos !

  3. Splendid tribute to your dad. (I almost said to a wonderful man, but like your mom says, we don't want his head to swell) Love the funny images of him clinging to the lawn mower in the sink hole, and bouncing out of the car as a toddler. You are a lucky daughter and he has a wonderful, caring, talented daughter!