Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Father's Day/ Happy Birthday/ Wish You Were Here

I meant to write this post in honor of Father's Day.  I'd been thinking about it for awhile-- I wanted to do something clever and funny (Dad always got my sense of humor).  Now my father's birthday has come and gone and I still haven't finished it.  Dad has Parkinson's, a disease that has robbed him of his mobility and personality, and it's hard to find the humor. But my dad is still my dad, just a little harder to reach.  And he could use a laugh about now.

So here goes.

Roy "Bud" Alvick was an only child who went on to sire five children.  Either he thought Mom was a real hot number, or he was making up for his lack of siblings.  Or that whole Catholic thing.  As I was number five I'm just glad he didn't stop trying till he got it right. 

Dad was always the Fun Dad, much to my mother's chagrin.  He was the piggy-back-ride, sure-I'll-buy-you-a-candy-bar, yes-I-see-why-you-need-those-over-priced-shoes-because-every-other-girl-in-school-is-wearing-them Dad.  Which is not to say there were no limits at our house (with five kids you need limits).  I know for a fact that Dad handed out a spanking or two, just not to me.  I was the youngest and, as my siblings will tell you, may have gotten away with more than my fair share.   

When I was still living at home Dad had a phone installed in his bathroom.  Not something every family can boast of, we were probably the first (or only) on our block. Dad claimed it  never failed that whenever he went in there for some "reading time" the phone would ring and it would be for him.  Could be that it was the quietest room in the house--there were five children living there after all--but I'm not sure that I want to know if he ever talked to me on that phone while taking care of business.

Dad started his career as a math teacher, worked for years as a school administrator, and eventually became a elementary school principal.  Funny thing is, Dad had gotten himself got kicked out of parochial school as a kid.  I'm not sure what exactly got him kicked out, but any number of the stories I heard about his adventurous childhood probably would have been enough.

Dad like to tease and taunt me during mass, trying to get me in trouble with Mom.  It usually worked--I'd get the evil eye even though he started it-- but it made time go by quicker.  Again, Dad had been kicked out of parochial school...

When I was in second grade our teacher tried to show me how to do long subtraction, but I just couldn't get it.  When I went home my mom tried to explain it to me but it still didn't make sense.  I was devastated--2 years in school and I'd already hit a road block.  I had a total meltdown (in a way only a frustrated 8-year-old can).  My dad came home from work that night and sat down with me and the math.  Two minutes later it made perfect sense and my dad was my hero.  Any man who can explain math to me must have super powers.

When I go visit my dad these days he's often confused about where he is or what he's doing, but he always knows who I am.  He doesn't joke around as often as he used to, but that's okay--I've already heard all his jokes anyway.  He doesn't need to remember them, I know them all by heart.

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