On November 20, I lost my dad. He had beat cancer, but succumbed to the ravages of age and a life well lived. As we age ourselves, we know the time will come when our parents eventually leave us, but it is always too soon.
My dad was my tea drinking buddy. Whenever he would stop by for a visit, I would make a pot of tea for the two of us. I would ask what kind of tea today, because I have so many. He always asked for something fruity. Funny, I only realized the other day, but both my mom and I are Georgia Peaches, and my dad's favorite tea was peach. I shared this revelation with her, and we both had a good chuckle.
My father was an amazing man. A master mechanic, he could fix literally anything. No matter what, he found a way. He loved to tinker, and said that was the way to learn. One thing he particularly loved to tinker with was watches and clocks. He would buy them, often used, just to take them apart, clean them up, and put them back together again, better than ever. His bedroom is adorned with several clocks. He once asked me what I would like of his once he was gone. Without hesitation, I said his clocks and watches. He seemed surprised by my request, but immediately said, "They're yours!" I haven't gotten them from my mom yet. I will when she is ready to let them go. The night he died I spent the night in his room, listening to the numerous ticking sounds. After awhile, it became almost musical. And comforting, knowing this was what he went to sleep to every night.
Another of our shared passions was treasure hunting, or, as he called it, junk shopping. On his birthday and Father's Day, I would pick him up and we would hit as many as we could. Our last time together doing this, we hit about eight or nine, and made purchases at each. It kind of became a game, to not break our streak. And, of course, what did he buy? Mostly clocks and watches. I will forever cherish those times, because no one else quite understood or loved doing it like he did. Every time I go on a treasure hunt now, he will be on my mind.
The most peculiar thing I ever did with my father was take a tai chi class together. This may not seem like a strange thing to most people, but you'd have to have known my dad to understand why this was amusing. I don't ever remember my dad exercising, other than going for walks or the occasional bike ride, much less taking an exercise class. But there we were, in a crowded room, doing tai chi.
My dad was a somewhat gruff, very opinionated on how a man should be, kind of guy. And yet, he knew how to sew. Just another of his many talents, but one that always made me kind of chuckle. My manly man dad could sew. The same man who would never teach me how to fix the plumbing, or how to do anything more to my car than check the oil, because I have a husband and sons, knew how to use a sewing machine, and sewed things.
He was a veteran, serving during the Korean War. He first drove a jeep during that time, and always wanted a jeep. He talked about getting one just this year.
He deeply loved his boxer, Baron. He'd always wanted a boxer, and an opportunity presented itself, and Baron became a member of the family. My dad worried Baron would outlive him and what would happen to him then. Baron did cross over before my dad did, and they will now be buried together.
He could cook, even if his repertoire was pretty much limited to breakfast, chili, and fried potatoes. His stuffing balls he made for Thanksgiving are a wonderful memory. Simple, but satisfying. I think what I will miss the most, though, was his mush. He would purchase special cornmeal to make the mush, and made it every now and then. But when he did, he always made sure to send some home with me. My mom gave me his mush making pot the other day. I will most definitely make some.
He truly was one of a kind, and I will miss him every day of my life. Today I am drinking a Georgia Peach green tea. In a new cat mug, because, guess what? He loved cats, too.
I love you, Dad!