I don’t remember my dad’s voice or his shirt size or what size shoes he wore.
But I do remember he never went anywhere without a fishing rod in the trunk of the car. I remember that he had a fondness for western paperbacks that he would read forever while sitting in the kitchen, his chair pulled close to the coal and wood stove.
And I remember how he could make a pinging sound on the strings of his violin with the bow when he played the song, Pop Goes the Weasel!
And I remember how safe I felt when I would come home from school and he was there.
Being a motherless child, I hung out with my dad a lot.
And it was a good thing.
My dad liked to fish a lot, every day, it seemed. My dad drove really slowly down country roads, mostly because he liked to look at the flowers that grew with wild abandon in the roadside ditches.
Consequently, I did, too.
My dad always sang in the car; the age old tunes of his native Scotland and the beautiful songs of the old west.
Consequently, I did, too.
My dad liked the television show, Bonanza and he never missed Hockey Night In Canada.
Ditto for me.
I liked my dad quite a lot when I was young. I was, after all, too young to know that dads were supposed to be annoying and not that bright, intellectually.
I thought my dad was really quite brilliant.
But then I became a teenager and realized my dad wasn’t really that bright after all.
And full of teenage wisdom, I knew I had to face reality.
My dad wasn’t actually cool!
And so we didn’t go fishing as much together and I don’t think we sang in the car hardly ever. At one point, I even asked him if we could have a radio in our car like normal people.
My dad said no.
But when I turned 15 my reality changed.
My father died. Suddenly, I discovered I was the one who wasn’t cool.
I was only heartbroken.
And, completely lost and bewildered, I wondered how I would ever face the world without hearing my dad brag about me which he did unceasingly much to my horror.
Little did I know the sadness I would feel when I realized I would never again hear those words, “she’s my daughter.”
I observed my son watching his daughter the other day as she trotted out to the pitcher’s mound.
He was watching her with quiet pride, not saying anything, and not being noisy like me, her grandma, when she struck out the third batter in a row.
And I know, without a doubt, that that young girl there on the pitcher’s mound may go through a time when she decides her dad is decidedly not cool. But, even as she spreads her little wings and flies far from the nest, she will remember.
She will remember the way her dad watches her with love in his eyes and the way he teaches her, not through words, but with actions that she can do pretty much anything she sets her mind to.
And she will remember the way he brags about her and the unmistakable pride in his voice when he talks about her and when he says, “that’s my girl, that’s my daughter.”
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.