In many ways my father was ahead of his time. I grew up in an era of hands-off dads who
believed childcare was women's work. Not my dad. He was one of those rare men who took
to parenthood like the proverbial duck to water. He taught my mother how to hold their
newborn daughter (like a football), and how to change diapers (quickly).
But best of all, he gave her Sundays off. She got to sleep late and dawdle over coffee
and the Sunday Times while he took his only child (me) on a grand adventure. Every Sunday
we took the subway into Manhattan and spent the day exploring the wonders of Central Park.
We fed pigeons salted peanuts and popcorn, gazed in amazement at the elephants and exuberant
seals, and rode the carousel over and over again. Okay, maybe my father didn't ride the
carousel but he patiently watched me as I urged my painted pony faster and tried to grab
the brass ring.
I've been thinking a lot about my father lately. This will be my fifth Father's Day
without him and while in many ways time does heal the pain of loss, I find myself wishing
for one more chance to make him his Father's Day Waffle Breakfast and listen to his stories
about the old days at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn when he cheered on The Dodgers. (And wouldn't
you know I married a Yankees fan!)
Now I'd be lying if I said Daddy and I always got along. We didn't. We were too much alike.
Both stubborn. Both hot-tempered. We went head-to-head more times than I can count during
my teenage years, fighting about everything from college to clothes to the appalling disaster
otherwise known as my bedroom. And time didn't mellow our explosions. I can see us now, a
few years before he died, having a minor skirmish near the makeup counter at Macy's at
Bridgewater Commons. I'm embarrassed to say he was in his seventies at the time and I
was well into my forties. Not that age stopped us. What did stop us almost every time
My dad loved stand-up comedians. Bob Hope and George Burns. Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl.
Don Rickles. Jack Carter. Totie Fields. Phyllis Diller. Frank Gorshin. George Carlin in
all his incarnations. He loved them all.
When he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer back in 1996 I instituted a fairly radical
treatment I called Sitcom Therapy. If laughter really was the best medicine, I was going
to make sure we all got a full dose of it whenever possible. We laughed a lot as a family,
even when things got rough. Sometimes the humor was black and stinging, but we laughed just
He had a great laugh, deep and booming, and it made everyone around him laugh just to hear
it. Funny how the arguments and rough patches fade away over time but the laughter—thank
God the laughter is forever.
What's new this month:
- New contest
- New recipe
- New article for the writers out there
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