10 things I miss hearing

I lost my dad to congestive heart failure a little over two years ago.  He was three weeks shy of his 90th birthday.  Because he was so sick in the last year or so of his life, my immediate reaction to his death was mostly relief, as I didn’t want to see him suffer anymore.  As time passes, I remember him more the way he was when he was younger and healthy, and less the way he was when he was old and sick.  Here are ten phrases that I will always associate with my dad, and that I will never hear uttered in exactly the same way again:

1) “How’s your weather?” (This was asked during every conversation after I moved to Chicago.)

2) “I think this is the best corn we’ve had all season.” (This was an annual pronouncement at the cottage.  One of my friends said one time that my family’s two favorite topics of conversation are: 1) itself, and 2) food rating.)

3) “Why don’t you practice it slowly until you learn it, and then you can play it fast?” (Guess who now says this to her own daughter during piano practicing?)

4) “Here, let me take your coat.” (God forbid someone tried to keep his or her coat while visiting my parents. Manners dictate that when company comes, you hang their coats in the closet, and my dad was going to accomplish this come hell or high water. I saw more than one person fight with him and lose.)

5) “Did I ever tell you about the time…” (This line could be filled in about 100 ways; however, one of my all time favorites was, “Did I ever tell you about the time we took the train to Chicago when Carolyn was a baby, and your mother wanted to take the stroller?”)

6) “Do you have enough room?…Well, then, move over!”

7) “Hey (insert name of child here)! Want to see me do the penny trick?” (My dad’s only magic trick, but one that could entertain children for hours, and now entertains my own children.)

8) “I want to tell you something…” (This was followed by some sort of serious pronouncement in which Dad stated his opinion as if it were cold, hard fact.)

9) “Well, I believe the sun is over the yardarm. Would anyone like a drink?” (This meant that it was 5:00 and time for cocktails.)

10) “If the car goes onto the shoulder, the first thing you do is take your foot of the accelerator.” (His main piece of advice to student drivers as he was teaching children and grandchildren to drive. Sound advice, as not knowing what to do in that situation is a major cause of accidents among inexperienced drivers.)

I miss you, Dad.  Thanks for teaching me your gift for seeing the humor in everyday life.




Filed under Family, Gratitude

3 responses to “10 things I miss hearing

  1. Margaret

    There are so many things I could say about this, but I just have to tell you: I was talking to mom and dad tonight and they went to Red Lobster (!) in Reading today for mom’s birthday. For 10 solid minutes on the phone, they both told me about each individual piece of food they ate and rated each item against every other time they ate at Red Lobster! John couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop laughing!

  2. Deborah Maue

    Very funny – I talked to your mom tonight and heard that they went to Red Lobster, but I didn’t hear the food rating!

  3. Carolyn

    I am finally getting around to reading this. Sorry! I don’t spend a lot of time in the blogosphere (cleary). This piece is fabulous, as it really captures Dad. The very number one thing I miss hearing is that grumbling, rumbling beginning of a laugh that accompanied his face scrunching up and his shoulders bouncing up and down when he thought something someone (or he) said was hysterical. I loved that. Love you and thanks for this, Carolyn

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