A belated Father’s Day tale…

Not counting my thirty some odd year on again off again love affair with alcohol and the inevitable one night stands that it might produce, I think I’ve fallen in love maybe three times in my life. The first time I was too young and too stupid to realize just how good I had it and wound up pissing a large portion of my life away for reasons that today still confound and contort me. The second time, I vowed to make things better but as we all know, old habits die hard and while I wasn’t quite the juggernaut I was once, I certainly could’ve spent more quiet nights at home rather than sipping beers and arguing sports and politics with my fellow bar patrons.

As for the third time, well, I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Oh, it’s not as if I spend countless sleepless nights tossing and turning or lamenting my plight. Time has cured me of that and while her proximity to me hasn’t changed, (She lives three doors away), we seem to have grown light years apart.

Nobody ever accused me of being a genius but I’m thinking that maybe it’s better that way.

Since yesterday was Father’s Day, I spent the morning on my beloved dirt track that masquerades as a golf course knocking balls around with some of my friends. We had our usual ungodly early morning tee time and I had decided to let my little one sleep in and catch up on her rest. It’s her summer vacation and rather have her get up early and be bored with me, I figured she’s be fine on her own. I called her when we made the turn and all was well and good. After firing an eight four, me and my fellow foursome decided that lunch was in order and after picking her up with the promise of a grilled cheese sandwich, some lemonade and a shot at the video bowling game, made our way to the nineteenth hole. We ordered our food, had ourselves some drinks and some laughs and watched a couple of pro’s butcher the course at Winged Foot in the US Open Championship.

Note: It always make me feel good to watch the pro’s actually struggle to make par on a course. It somehow makes me feel more human and knocks them down from their pedestal if only for awhile. Oh yeah, hey Phil, if I may be so bold as to ask, what the fuck were you thinking hitting driver on eighteen?

Anyways, after we settled our tab, me and my kid made our way to the grocery store to stock up on supplies for our ritual barbecue. We had settled on something simple like burgers and maybe some grilled veggies to tide us through and there we were, lamenting the lack of fresh corn on the cob and plotting another course when all of sudden I heard a voice behind me say…

”Happy Father’s Day Bob”

I knew that voice, it was the third love of my life, the one that got away for reasons I still can’t explain. She was dressed in some kinda plaid pants that looked they came straight out of the Kennedy era and she put on a smile that would ripen even the youngest of fruit. After coughing up the tongue I had just swallowed, we got involved over some small talk and about the blandness of everyday life. We talked about our plans for the day and how she was going to have her present lover’s father over and yaketty yakkety yak and then some more blah blah blah but my mind had misted over and just went blank.

After some more robotic conversation on my part, we gave each other the briefest of hugs and exchanged a little smile and went our separate ways. It’s then when I got one of the best gift my daughter ever gave me.

”So that was (insert name here), she looks way too old for you anyway.”

See, there was no card or necktie or homemade trinket that would’ve gotten eventually gotten lost or gathered dust somewhere in the back of some closet to mark the occasion. We’re not really the gift giving types and we tend to let our words and our actions do most of the speaking for us and up to now, the strategy has worked pretty well. (That all might change when she hits her teens but for now, I’ll take what I can get).

I think the thing of it is is that while my lovers seem to come and go, my little one will always be around to cheer me up when I’m down on myself. She has the knack to know just what to say and when to say it to shake me from my doldrums. Maybe it’s a little peck on the cheek when I’m not looking or squeezing my hand just a bit tighter or asking me in her own little way “is everything ok Dad?”.

Lately, she’s taken to calling me “Pops” instead of “Dad”. When I asked her why that was, she said she didn’t know. She said that I was looking more like a “Pops” these days. I guess that’s as good a reason as any.

Today, I dropped her off at her summer program at school. They’re going to a senior citizens home to read them stories and maybe tell them some of their own. I hope she gets her imagination going and decides to tell them a doozy or two to get their blood flowing and maybe re-capture some their lost youth if only for a little while. After all, that’s what she did for me just the other day with just a single sentence.

I guess adventure is what you make it. For her, some day’s it might be hurtling down the mountain on ski’s, scoring a goal in your soccer game or getting your name in print. For me, it might be something so simple as holing out a long putt or a trip to my local grocery store. Either way, lets hope that whatever different forms they might take, they still keep coming.

Sometimes, I think I see drops of her everywhere.

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