I am, 100%, my daddy's girl.
Mom has accused me, many times, of being just like my dad, but we all know my extroversion and sensitivity had to come from somewhere, and--if I were guessing--I'd credit her. (My *cough* parachuting-hypnotist parent.)
Still, I've definitely got some Carl Shafer going on, and I've got the sense that I'm exactly what happens when my parents collide (and raise up, with care), and I'm glad for it. I can tell you, honestly: I've never wished to be anyone else. I've wished to be better, but never other.
I've thought for days what I might write to pay tribute to my dad on Father's Day and find it impossible to pour so much love into a blog post.
But I can share with you this: my dad permitted my first-grade teacher to give me a bunny, and he bought me a real pony and, later, a real horse. He rode big chunks of the C&O Canal with me, on horseback. He took me swimming in the Conococheague and rose up from the water of that tributary looking like a pirate, one eye closed. He took me crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay; raccoon hunting in northern Pennsylvania and east Tennessee; fishing in various waters; camping in various parks. There was an entire, father-daughter weekend camp, once, when I was a Brownie.
My dad made the characters in the blue Bible Story book come to life and "elves" move the train around the Christmas tree backwards at my command. He rug-burnt his nose, once, when his "all fours" got tangled up, playing bear (or horse) with me on his back. He helped make many pinatas (including, once, a pink, Christmas pig) and a rocket ship for my raw-egg "astronaut." Also homemade potato candy and chips, homemade ice cream, scrambled eggs red with tomato juice.
He removed, painlessly, my splinters. He played games of all sorts with me: Pick Up Sticks, Stratego, Spades, Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit. He made my mom's baby-blue Volkswagen Beetle hop hills on the way to Hollowell Brethren. He drove the youth bus for Millbranch Missionary Baptist.
He drove over an hour, once, just to change my truck battery; eight hours, once, to retrieve my friends and me after I flipped a car and landed upside-down in a swamp near Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and another eight hours, once, just to get in the car and accompany me to Wolf Trap, where we watched The Wizard of Oz, to the National Symphony and Orchestra's playing the score.
I could write each thing as its own story. Maybe, over time, I will, and all the other things, too.
But no matter what or when, the point is this:
my dad loves me, and--even in the bad times--I've always known.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.