Today marks the one-year anniversary of my beloved dad’s death. He passed away after suffering a stroke—on the exact same day as my stroke nine years earlier. The irony is not lost on me in the slightest. In fact, it really should be added as a lyric to that one Alanis Morrisette song.
Even though Dad has been gone for a year, my friends talk about him 1) like he’s still around and 2) like they’re still worried about him. My friend Katie said, “Imagine if your dad was trying to deal with all this COVID-19 stuff? Think how mad he’d be knowing restaurants were closed.”
It’s true, he’d be royally pissed. The man often ate out three meals a day. I, meanwhile, would have died from a heart attack trying to keep him safely quarantined in this coronavirus culture.
In the past year, I’ve become a lot more introspective on all my dad’s great attributes. For instance, he’d never dole out advice until you specifically asked for it. And then it was infused with the wisdom of Socrates. He had a perpetual sweet tooth. Just ask the Schwann’s delivery man for confirmation. (My dad helped put his kid through college on ice cream sales alone.)
He kept the phone within reach 24/7 so that he’d never miss a call from anyone—for any reason. In the six years since The Bevinator unexpectedly passed, there were only a handful of times I didn’t talk to my father at least once a day. I still miss our daily chats—about nothing and everything.
He was a proud WWII veteran and loved to tell stories about his days in the Army Air Corps. From time to time, he would wear his “I’m a WWII Veteran, Dammit” baseball cap out and about. He started wearing it a helluva lot more once he realized guests at Perkins would thank him for his service and buy him breakfast. He was also a fast learner.
In his later years, he had a particular affinity for sub-par reality TV shows about pets. Once a Time Warner cable technician had to inform Dad that his DVR had reached maximum capacity. Seems Dad had recorded every single episode of “My Cat From Hell”—all 19,572 seasons.
If he enjoyed something, he became fixated on it. He wasn’t just a fan—he was fan-atical. As most of you know, he never passed up an opportunity to go out for breakfast. He was obsessed with his pristine lawn and pineapple upside down cake. He loved him some Fox News. But more than anything, he missed my blessed mom—the love of his life.
He was generous to a fault, but fairly restrained on extravagant purchases for himself. He did, however, pay cash for a new John Deere riding lawnmower a few years ago. It had so many bells, whistles and accessories, I don’t even know where to start. It was the Maserati of mowers. He would wash and wax it. And even though he retired from John Deere way back in 1985, he still knew he was eligible for a 30% employee discount. I’m surprised he didn’t buy a combine while he was at it.
After Mom passed, Dad doted on his dog Weezy. Funny how a small furball creature could become a lifeline, a touchstone, a companion and sounding board all in one. Those two were attached at the hip. Dad had more videos of Weezy on his iPad than anything else. Weezy stretching. Weezy snoring. Weezy tearing up my childhood teddy bear. Geez, Weez!
Anytime people say, “Your dad would be rolling over in his grave if …”, I always stop them cold. One of my Dad’s best qualities was his gentle spirit. I can count on one hand the number of times he got mad. He was quick to forgive and quietly pensive. Being a statistical engineer his whole life gave him an analytical mindset, he once told me. Becoming a dad made him a sentimental sap.
Man, did my dad love me. And it was returned in kind. I’m bawling as I type this. Seems that sentimental apple didn’t fall far from the tree.