Monday, June 20, 2011


There is one thing my Mom said about her father at his wake. It stuck with me because it is simple, true, and perfect:

"Here's to you, Daddy. The first man I ever loved, and the first man who loved me."

Just sit there for a moment and read it over a couple times...

In my family, we have Daddies. Lordy, "Father" is such a stiff, unfeeling word. It feels unnatural when the syllables clunk around in my mouth. Someone once told me that I wasn't a little girl anymore and that I was being juvenile when I said Daddy.

"I mean, at least say Dad."

"I can't, he's my Daddy."

This very MAN, a couple years later saw his "father" driving his car in the opposite direction we were driving and involuntarily shouted out "DAAAAADDDDDAAAAYYYYYY!" (sober)

It makes me laugh uncontrollably STILL.

BUT, you know what that means? He has had some stellar moments with his Daddy. He has bonded with his Daddy and he knows his Daddy would take care of him if he still needed it. Kind of like being a little juvenile child.


Once upon a time, in a quaint village filled with sidewalks, brick townhomes, and freshly cut grass there was a brood (SIX) of children driving two adults mad. In this little piece of heaven, known as Collingdale, behind the house filled with thumping feet, squealing voices, and things that could never be kept nice, there was a small garden patch.

This is the place where small little girls learned the value of grass stained knees, bare feet, bumble bees, and tangled hair. You see, one of the adults, the leader of the nuthouse, always dreamed of being a New Jersey Tomato Farmer. He swiftly realized that his dream would not come to fruition if that meant he must also raise little wild children. He knew that the only thing worse than wild little girls were wild and crazy Jersey folk. You know, the kind that live near the tomato farms, in a trailer, circa 1945, with no distinguishable road leading into or out of the trailer lot? The Jersey trailer folk were not to be trusted, especially with the whispered rumors that they, themselves, were housing the Jersey devil in the off chance that a small little Jersey girl wondered off in her barefoot splendor. This very thing did happen ONCE...and that is how we got Snooki.

So this adult, nay, Daddy folded his dream into his pocket and replaced it with a backyard strawberry patch that was safe and warm and deliciously located in the sane world of Pennsylvania.

He never forgot his dream, it continued to thrive inside his pocket. It shone through, though, and all of his children grew in the sunshine of his dream of farming and growing and cherishing everything from the outside and natural world.

One of his little girls, watched his every move, followed him with her little plastic bubble blowing lawn mower, drank her juice when he drank his "juice." Tried to weed and mulch and pick up heavy things that were five times her size. She even tried to touch the worm on the end of the fish hook even though it was really gross and slimy and dying because that's what her Daddy did. That little girl carries her dreams in her right pocket, but also carries her Daddy's dream in her left pocket.

SO, whenever her shiny headed Daddy comes up with a hair-brained scheme to build ANOTHER barn, or replace a roof (where she still tries to carry things up that are five times her size), or EVEN BETTER: drive donuts in the snow on the ATV, she is there. Even when he retires and she has her own job and house and dog and life, she visits to make sure the tomato plants are tied up, the strawberries have been picked, the "varmints" stay out of the garden and that the dream that has been kept in pockets for so long has been tended and watered and given sunshine.


You see, strawberrries remind me of my Daddy's dream. That is why I love strawberries. They represent the beginning. The first step in a decade long plan towards a dream that continues and evolves. Strawberries represent the simple truth that my Daddy told me when I said I wanted to play football in middle school:

If you want it bad enough and you WORK HARD ENOUGH, you can do it.

(I didn't want to play football bad enough)

Love you Daddy

No comments:

Post a Comment