Happy Father’s Day, Pop

It’s Father’s Day and it’s been a while since I’ve really celebrated it because my Pop passed away several years ago. An earlier post I did, will tell you about my dad. My first true hero. To say I loved him with all my heart puts it mildly. He meant the world to me. And he still does. I suppose in a way I try to ignore Father’s Day, so I don’t have to miss him even more than I already do. His funny little giggle, and crusty voice, his clear blue eyes and big belly – his everything.

But I don’t want to get all sad and lonely in this post. I want to tell you about him. Just a little. It’s just a small little story but one that I love.

Long after I’d grown up and moved out to California, with my own place and my own life – I used to talk to him on the phone. Probably once a month or so. Not about anything in particular. We just talked about whatever was going on or on our minds. We ‘got’ each other very well, and there always was a real easiness between us. So, this one night we were gabbing on the  phone and he hit all the usual dad bases, who was I dating? were they good to me? how was the job? what kind of car was I driving? when was I leaving the land of terrible earthquakes? stuff like that.

Then the topic rolled around to him. “So, what’s new with you?” I asked. A pause. Eh? Dad never paused when you asked him something. “What?”

“Aw…never mind,” he said. I could swear I almost heard him blushing.

Too curious to let it pass, I said, “What? What is it?”

“Oh, you’ll just make fun of me,” he stalled.

“I will not,” I insisted. “What is it?” I was starting to get a little worried – no one was more of an open book than my Pop and he was a straight from the hip kind of guy, so I knew something was up. “Oh for cripes sake, would you just tell me?”

“Okay,” he said, none too pleased. “Well, I started taking night classes at the local high school.” Pop had never finished high school, something he always regretted.

“Well, that’s great, Dad. What are you taking? Photography? Writing?”

“No, I’m getting my diploma.”

“In what?” I asked, apparently to dense to get what he meant.

“My high school diploma. I went back to school and got my diploma,” he said as though relieved to confess his deep dark secret.

I was so happy for him. I knew what it meant to him and I could tell he was happy about it too. “That’s great! That’s really great, Pop. When are  you going to finish?”

He laughed. “I already did. Mickey (my little sister) and I are having a joint graduation party next week.”

Now, this may seem a bit small to some of you – and I’ll admit that in the greater scheme it probably is. But I swelled with pride when he told me. That at age 60, he would go back to school and right something he thought he’d done wrong 40 years before, really knocked me out. He didn’t do it for any reason, or anyone, just himself. Just because it was important to him – a goal he’d never reached but wanted to. And then to have his graduation party with the youngest of his five children was like the cherry on the ice cream sundae.

And that was my dad. The guy who just followed his heart and never stopped trying to grow or learn throughout his life. I don’t think I was ever prouder of him than I was in that moment.

So, Pop…wherever you are, whether up in Heaven looking down on me, or reincarnated as an American Bald Eagle soaring through the sky – you still are and always will my hero. Happy Father’s Day, Pop.

Love,

Annie

14 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day, Pop

  1. OMG, how did I manage to be the first comment???!!
    I’m so thrilled when reading posts like this. My relationship with my father has been turbulent to say the least. My sisters got the father I wanted, and I never begrudged them that…nor resented them for it. I think that having your dad for a hero must be like eating hot chocolate with gooey marshmallows all curled up on the couch with your favorite blanket….
    Cheers, Kelly

    Hey Kel,
    Yeah, it was just like that. I miss him like mad.

    Hey, at least you got a second dad who is wonderful – from what I hear, you lucked out too. 😉
    WC

    Like

  2. Beautiful post. I too didn’t have this with my dad and I’m so happy that you clearly did. It’s a lovely tribute.

    Thanks Simonne – I’m happy I did too. If he was still around, I’d say you could borrow him any time – a lot of my friends did.
    WC

    Like

  3. You have always made me believe I would love your Dad. This post solidifies the fact that he was a unique individual and that he loved you very much.
    Finally getting a HS diploma has to be such a wonderful achievement but difficult to admit to one of your children.
    Your Dad’s spirit is beaming, Annie.
    I just know it.
    ~m

    Hey Mikey,
    You absolutely would have loved my dad. Yeah, he’s out there somewhere – I feel him around a lot.
    Annie

    Like

  4. *wipes a tear* Our parents need our approval as much as we need theirs. A special prayer for you and your pop from my heart today, Annie. This is moving and warm. Happy Father’s Day to your eagle 🙂

    Hey Ali!
    You’re right, they do. A lesson I’m trying to practice with my mother. Yes, Happy Father’s Day to my eagle – I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks, dear.
    Annie

    Like

  5. i think the fact your Dad went back to get his diploma tells so much about his character. That’s awesome.
    What a loving tribute. i don’t think our society values dads as much as they should. A good father means the world to a family and its function. i’m glad that you had a great dad.

    Hey Christine,
    I agree, I don’t think dads are valued as they used to be. He was something, you would have liked him. And he would have liked you too.
    WC

    Like

  6. The fact that your father went back after so long speaks oodles to how he must have been as a man. I envy that generation of father’s mental toughness and fortitude. With my dad, I think that no matter what good stuff I might do, it’s all because of him and my mom. I don’t even mean this in any self-deprecating way, but it’s impossible to measure up with what he’s accomplished as a man. Talk about role models. Ugh! Damn you and your high bars, Dad! If I ever have children, they’re staying with him all summer. Shoot, I’ll do the same.
    Thanks, WC, another thoughtful post I’ve enjoyed reading.
    Puddlehead

    Hey Puddlehead,
    You hang onto your dad as long as you can. We really don’t know what we have til it’s gone. I miss mine everyday. And hell yeah, the men of his generation were a different breed. I owe a lot to mine as well. God love him.

    Thanks for reading.
    WC

    Like

  7. I loved this story, the fact that it’s real with picture is just better then any hallmark commercial (sorry, you know what I mean, yes?).
    Thank you for sharing Annie.

    Aw, thanks Spaz,
    That is a really sweet thing to say. I guess it is my own little hallmark card, huh?
    Annie

    Like

  8. I miss him so much…..
    The thing about that that makes me sad, was that (although we tried several times) we could never get a picture (together) with us in our gowns, something always happend to the camera. We always meant to do it later, but never did. I was SO PROUD of him and was ecstatic that we were graduating together, I just wish i could have had that picture……
    love ya dad.
    l/y
    FC

    Aw that’s too bad that you didn’t get that picture – it would have been priceless. There is a pic of he and I that I really loved but it just went missing one year. I wish I had that one. We have our memories though, huh? Miss you, Pop.
    l/y
    A

    Like

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