My dad died in 1996. He was 56 years old. He suffered organ rejection from a lung transplant. He had a transplant the year before because he suffered from alpha-one antitrypsin deficiency.
I miss my dad a lot, as does everyone in my family. Generally, though, I no longer sit around lamenting the loss. The passage of time has helped heal my grief some as does knowing he’s no longer suffering. Mostly though, I know that my dad would not want me to sit around making my life miserable because he’s no longer around. He loved life. He loved his family. And he loved to laugh.
Laughter is a gift I have inherited from both of my parents. There is a lot of joy and laughter when we are together celebrating the good times and the muddling through the bad.
So, in honor of Father’s Day, I want to share some of his funny stories in his honor. It is how I like to remember him and how I know he would like to be remembered.
He drove to Washington, DC one time to visit me for my birthday. My stepmother made my favorite cake, yellow cake with chocolate icing. We sang Happy Birthday at my house and I gave cake to my roommates. Then we packed everything up in his car to go to my brother’s house to celebrate. We backed out of the driveway and as we started to pull away we all heard something slide across the roof of the car and THUNK! hit the pavement. Yep, my birthday cake was now splattered all over the street. He was carrying the cake and put it on the roof to put other stuff in the car and forgot it. I never had a single bite of it as I was waiting to eat the cake at my brother’s house.
One time, he was getting ready to drive to DC to visit me and offered to give a friend of mine a ride down here as well. I gave him her number. She was a massage therapist and he called and left a vulgar message on her machine. I was horrified. But wait, there’s more. How could this possibly get worse, you ask? He called the wrong number and left that message on some other woman’s machine. How do we know this? That woman called him back! Fortunately, she was laughing when she called to inform him he called the wrong person.
He created a special way to celebrate Christmas. Of course he got everyone the presents or money they wanted. Then he would pull out a giant bag filled with stupid $.99 toys and other junk, carefully wrapped with loving care. Stuff like jacks, Silly Putty, Plastic Bubbles, $1.00 pair of stretchy gloves, stupid stuff. We then took turns opening gifts. You also had the choice of opening a new gift or taking someone else’s gift. We did three or four rounds with the bag of junk fighting over the stupid $.99 toys cheering when we got something good and then getting upset when someone else took it away. He just sat back laughing and taking pictures. It was his favorite part of the night.
He had this joke that only he could tell. Everyone knew it as he told it 1,000 times at least. Invariably, at some family function someone would ask him to tell his Archibald Asholbrook joke. It was vulgar. He could tell it over and over again and everyone laughed just as hard as they did the time before. But the final joke was on us. The secret of the joke seems to have died with him. No one else really knows it. And nobody else can tell it the way he did.
So, Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I know you’re causing all kinds of trouble and keeping God on his toes!