Lucky – My Hero

Recent discussions with a friend about family has got me thinking and I wanted to talk a little bit about mine:

He was the first man in my life. He was gruff and sarcastic. He was wise and funny. He was my hero – my dad.

I don’t know if I was exactly the apple of his eye, but he only called me Babe. And if I’m not mistaken none of my other siblings got sips of his beer either.

His name was John but everybody called him Lucky because when he was young he missed by seconds being beaned by a 50 lb block of ice. Way back then, he delivered ice for ‘ice boxes’ and when he parked his truck on a 45 degree hill and jumped out, that block of ice clunked into the driver’s seat.

He claimed to have been an original hell’s angel who siphoned gas from tractors with his buddies while they were growing up in Pennsylvania. He also played in a country-western band, wrote for a small newspaper, repaired tv’s and apparently had a couple of brawls in bars when he was young, hence some missing teeth.

Though by the time we met he was just Daddy. The guy who loved black coffee, wheaties and Hillbilly Bread (yes there really was such a thing). The guy who ate every ‘experiment’ in food that I prepared while I was learning to cook. No matter how nasty he would smile and say, “it’s good, Babe.” Even that horrible chop suey that tasted like salt and grease.

We rarely disagreed on anything and I was constantly being told by my mother that I was just like him. A compliment of the highest order in my world. In fact, when I beat up Claudia Dick (yep, that really was here name) and she scratched the hell outta my face he said: “Does she look worse than you?”

“Oh yeah,” said I.

He smiled and told me to go play.

On summer nights, after we were supposed to be sleeping – Mr Softie the ice cream truck would roll down our street. We could hear his little song playing from the truck’s speakers. The screen door would open and close. The truck would stop. And a few minutes later, we’d hear him going off again – looking for late night ice cream consumers.

Not long after, Dad would open the door to our room and say, “Girls, are you awake?” And of course we were. “Come down here.” And of course we did. And there’d be two giant chocolate ice cream cones waiting for us. We’d sit in the dark livingroom watching tv and eating our cones with our dad. He’d say ‘don’t tell your brothers and don’t tell your mother.” Our lips were sealed.

When I left to move to California my mother was very upset. Perhaps even angry with me. She didn’t want me to go and I felt so guilty. But Dad said, “you have to follow your dreams, honey. You just don’t have anything in your life without them.”

Even though we lived 3,000 miles apart, we always remained close. Whenever something worried him that he saw on the news, he called to see if I was okay. If there was an earthquake he was on the phone to me within seconds of it. He visited many times and was the consumate tourist and we always had a blast. And no matter how old I was, I was always his little girl.

The day he died was simply the worst day of my life. Though it’s been many years, I still miss him completely. Whenever anything good happens I always want to call him and tell him about it. Whenever something bad happens I want to call him and talk to him about it. And then I remember….I can’t.

I think about him everyday. I thank God that I had him in my life. He will always be my first and best hero.


14 thoughts on “Lucky – My Hero

  1. Oh that lovely little ice cream truck music letting us know “Here Comes Mister Softy”

    Yeah, it was lovely – sort like the music from a music box. πŸ™‚



  2. YOu make me sad and jealous…my Dad died when I was only 3. By then my parents were divorced and mother had moved her and I from Ga to Az so I wasn’t able to see very much of him anyways. But I grew up being told ‘you’re just like your father’ by everyone in the family. Difficult when you have no point of referrence.
    So, I envy you…hold fast your memories of the person who “you’re just like”…….

    Oh Billie, I’m sorry you didn’t have your dad when you were growing up. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without mine. He was always my safe port in the storm. Even now, I still think of him that way. I guess some humans just really ‘click’ with each other – that was me and my dad. I miss him every day.




  3. Your dad was a wise man. It is great that he encouraged you to follow your dreams.

    Fuzz, he was a great guy. You woulda loved him. And he woulda gotten a huge kick outta you.



  4. My dad and I have an interesting relationship. At a time where my sisters are seeing the side of him I’ve had for such a long time, we are actually becoming closer. I feel for them that the rose colored glasses are coming off because they’ve had the dad that I never did for so long. I never envied them, just accepted that that was the way is was. I’m so pleased that you had such a wonderful relationship with him, from someone who hasn’t had that for such a long time, it’s fantastic to see that not only did you enjoy it, but you never took it for granted. I think he would be extremely proud of you right now.
    Cheers, Kelly


    Thanks for saying that, I hope you’re right. He was so easy to see through. Gruff on the outside but total mush on the inside. I had him spotted from day one. We were birds of a feather to be sure. Just like you and your mum. πŸ˜‰



  5. I miss him too, I think about him a lot, especially around the holidays. I don’t have one particular memory that stands out, but overall, when I remember daddy, I remember: the guy who could fix ANYTHING!! The guy who would always let me bring my friends with me when i went to visit and would never allow them to pay for anything, even when they tried to. The guy, who ate my (first attempt) at his favorite breakfast (fried eggs) of course the yolks had broken and were overdone, but he finished them with a smile on his face. The guy that never got mad at me when i called him too many times at work. The guy who would take me to the movies and who always watched the muppets and cartoons with me. The guy who always made X-Mas great, and the guy who taught me how to ride my bike. He was a little older and crankier by the time i came into the world, so I also got the guy who complained a lot, but that was ok, cuz everything else made up for it. I miss that guy a lot, and so does a friend of mine who basically thought of him as a dad of sorts (hers had been out of the picture for almost her whole childhood, than he passed away) as he had always treated her like a long lost daughter.

    Yeah sweetie, we were lucky to have had Lucky, weren’t we?Β  The original (grumpy) carebear. LOL – that reminds me…I think you have some pictures I want. πŸ˜‰



  6. Tears, very emotional post. This post makes me really sad, as I lost my Dad when I was 18yrs old. He was my Idol, I still try to do some thing he use to do it. Oh dear cant find words…so better move on..

    Aw Eka, I’m so sorry you lost your dad so early in your life. I was lucky to have had mine with me much longer. It touches me that your dad was your idol – that’s the way it should be. And I’m sure he would be proud of the man you turned out to be.



  7. You had an awesome dad!!

    What I would give to, just once, hear “Follow your dreams” out of my dad.

    Love him dearly and know he’s doing the best he can but… Mark and I are trying to be more like your dad to our kids.

    He got the biggest kick out of you too. Remember how he always called you Kelly Belly? LOL. Like we were both five or something. πŸ™‚Β  He’d have been really touched to hear you say that about raising your kids. Love ya, hon.



  8. Wow, we had the same Dad sort of. Thanks for reminding me to continue to cherish my folks while they are here.

    I get so darn caught up in my own little world that I forget that what is really important in this world is not work. It is our friends and family. It is not the jobs I’ve done that I rue the passing of, nope it is my Grandma, Grandpa and friends that have gone home to be with the Lord.

    Thanks WC for the memories.

    Thank you Squawk, for taking the stroll with me. πŸ˜‰


  9. I’ll make you a deal, you scan all the family photos you have and email them and i’ll do the same. Just don’t put them “all” on the same email, or i’ll never be able to open it up!! (This winter I’m cleaning out my front room so that would be a good project for me to send you)
    Cool! It’s a deal.


  10. Heroes are great to have. Even better when you live with him. You’ve written a great tribute.

    Thanks Matt,
    It’s not hard to do when you have a great subject.


  11. What a fantastic homage to such an important person in your life. I truly was in tears after reading this and so sorry for your loss. I can tell he’d have loved this post and that you treasure so many details though. Hugs to you, my friend.

    Aw, thanks, Teens. It’s true, I really adored my dad and I’m blessed to have had him in my life.


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