If the old saying about an 'acorn not falling too far from the tree' is correct, then it is so true for my dad and me.
Throughout the years, I have been nicknamed 'Little Loyal' and at times it makes me mad and other times it makes me proud....such a double edged sword!
My dad has taught me so many things throughout my life and I don't know what I would have done without him near - he helped me learn how to ride my bike after many unsuccessful attempts in the yard and ramming the handle bars into my gut - "You're ok - it's a long ways from your heart. Now try it again."
I got to sit on his lap and steer the El Camino when I was learning how to drive and couldn't reach the gas pedal. He would take me in the pick up on Sunday mornings to Casey's so I could get a Mt. Dew and a Snickers while he got the newspaper. He rigged our kites with a TON of string so we could get it extra high in the air - well, mine would go high and Todd's would get wound up in the power lines.
My bicycle seat was on the back of dad's bike before I learned how to ride on my own and he would go so fast down hills that it felt like I was flying. He was good with throwing fly balls in the backyard (my favorite) and he made me practice ground balls even though I hated it (always afraid I'd get my teeth knocked out if the ball hit a bump in the grass). He was a pro at playing bad mitton with a cigarette in his mouth and we hated playing Monopoly against him :)
Since mom was unable to get her point across by 'yelling' and letting us know we were in trouble, we knew when dad gave us 'the look' that the game was over. His piercing blue eyes could cut like a knife and thankfully, I have only seen 'the look' once. It worked.
Louie loves his naps, especially after lunch. However, he does not like it when he is napping and you're roller skating around and around the kitchen and living room. I thought I was being quiet (besides, he couldn't hear and was sleeping) until he grabbed the back of my pants on my way by and told me to go get the yard stick. Now why would he need the yard stick when he was sleeping? Good question. I knew I had pushed the envelope and tried stalling, but Grumpy Gus wasn't having it. Somehow after I got the yard stick, it flew out of my hands and behind the washer and dryer... weird... sorry, dad, can't find the yard stick - guess I'll just go outside and roller skate there.
One of my favorite childhood memories (yours too, dad) was the day that we were getting ready for lunch (mom was working) and I wanted to go ride my bike around the block. The answer was a definite 'NO', but I couldn't hear him since I was already out the door and on my bike NOT going to Wendy's house. I was just going to go the other way around the block... ''Maarrrciiiieeeee....." I heard Wendy's voice and wondered what she could possible want - better go check it out.
Call the local news channel - she found a bird's nest!! "Are they hatching? Is the mom in there too? What does a nest look like?" Away I went across the street to check things out... up the tree I climbed to look at this marvel and just then, here comes dad around the corner on Todd's dirt bike, cig hanging out of his mouth, and boy was he on a mission - did he come to see it too? Not so much... he had watched me from the window after telling me not to go to Wendy's and was just waiting for the moment when I was 'lured' over there!
Needless to say, I was grounded for a week and the worse part of the whole deal was that my bike was off limits. Was it put in the shed? Oh no that would be too simple - it was chained to the garage wall, suspended above the ground, so every time I went outside, I was reminded of the reason that I was grounded in the first place. He was so creative :)
I used to love laying on your tummy when I was little and having you scratch my back until I was sleepy. I loved how you would swing me over the bannister by my corrective shoes back and forth until no more blood could rush to my head! I love the sound of your laugh, the way you say ''Fridee, feesh, and seement''... I learned that it's ok to be different and not look like other people who are wearing sandals. You are honest, opinionative, and straight to the point so we always know where we stand...good or bad! (I definitely don't get that trait from mom! ha ha).
I love it when you take me for a ride in the Corvette and hammer down, even though we're never supposed to tell mom that we do it... I love going fishing with you, standing next to you at football games chit chatting, having a beer on the back step and talking about our days, and talking to you on the phone. I love it when I give you a hug and can smell your after shave on my cheek for hours after we've left each other.
Dad, I've never been as proud of you as I am right now at this very point in time. I have seen you come a long way in the last two years after getting baptized and most recently after your stroke. You are an inspiration and a blessing to our family - you have always instilled in us that we don't need 'things' in our lives to make us happy, but we do need family and love. You have taught me about work ethics, how to stand up for myself, and that you don't like anything with mint flavoring.
I'm so happy about the faith journey that you're undertaking and am glad that I have been able to be a part of it, been a sounding board for you, and I will continue to pray for you. I'm happy that you are going to get to experience the retired life and after 18.5 years of having the station, you deserve a rest. Enjoy it! (Mom's going to put you to work, you know? It's not going to be Dr. Phil and bon-bons every day, Louie.)
Dad, thanks for being my friend, father, a good Christmas shopper, mover, and mechanic. I have enjoyed spending so much time with you on the way up to SD to the football games, hanging out on Saturday's for lunch, and watching you grow as a Christian. I like how we are so similar because you always know my reaction or what I'm thinking.
Thank you for giving me freedom, thank you for your approval, thank you for being understanding and loving and thank you for my blue eyes :)
I hope you have a great Father's Day and just know that even though I'm not there with you, I will be thinking of you and loving you from 1,800 miles away!
I love you, daddio! Lorettie