My grandmother had a saying – “every hen thinks her chick is the blackest” – which wasn’t about chickens at all, but said worlds about family ties.

So it is natural that I recall and write so often about my Dad.

He was in my eyes just about the greatest man ever and I may have broken bits of his heart with some of my stunts, but his love for my Mom, sister and me was unconditional.

He always had our backs.

Always.

This Sunday is Father’s Day. It will be the 10th year without my Dad.

So that’s as good a reason as any to share some of my memories of this fine man.

I was the youngest and if not for being born female would have made the son he never had.

Goodness knows, I sure tried, tomboy that I was.

His word was gospel to my ears, even when it made a very gullible girl the butt of a joke.

Dad was an avid gardener and when I was 11 or so I got it into my head that I would be his helper in that pursuit.

So I was eager to do my part when he came home with about 40 pounds of seed potatoes.

I must have missed the twinkle in his eyes when he told me to be sure to wrap each piece of cut potato in newspaper “to keep the dirt out of the eyes.”

I happily set to work cutting up those spuds and wrapping every blessed piece in a scrap of newsprint.

When Dad checked on me a couple hours later every piece was neatly wrapped and he didn’t have a newspaper to read that evening.

He laughed about that at planting time for at least the next 50 or 60 years.

Dad also chewed Beech-Nut tobacco so one day I wandered into the folks’ room.

Not exactly off limits, but I did know it was a place I wasn’t supposed to play. 

So I was just looking around.

And there it was on the dresser. I recognized the familiar striped bag right away. It was Dad’s chewing tobacco, those strange brown bits that gave him such pleasure to keep tucked in his cheek.

Sort of like my hamster.

Well, if it was good enough for my Dad, it was sure good enough for me.

I reached for the bag, opened it and withdrew a fairish pinch. I sniffed it first and then popped it into my mouth, tucking it right into my cheek like I’d seen both Dad and hamster do.

And promptly began sputtering and spitting to rid my mouth of the foul stuff.

I recall these and other memories weekly and sometimes daily it seems.

Good memories and some less than good. All cherished though.

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Dad. I miss you.

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