Author’s note: Thank you to Frume Sarah for her post last week that gave me the idea for my post today. Although born of what could have been a very serious (perhaps deadly) accident, a piece of her post touched me in a way I didn’t expect. Thanks, Frume Sarah, for once again inspiring me.
“Call my Dad.” After a nasty tumble last week at a roller skating rink, a fellow blogger asked her husband to contact her father to take her to the local emergency room. As she told the story of the fall and its aftermath, she continually mentioned her Dad and his care for her during their unexpected trip to the hospital and as I listened I began to think about my Dad (z”l) and the many times I said to myself (or someone else), “Call my Dad.”
– Almost every Saturday night during high school I went with a group of friends to a near-by skating rink. There were two sessions, one from 6:00 to 9:00 and one from 9:00 to midnight. My Dad used to drop me off at 5:45 with the admonition, “I don’t want to get a call at 8:45….” Usually around 8:30 my friends would start discussing the possibility of staying until midnight and I found myself (against my better judgement) saying enthusiastically, “I’ll call my Dad,” secretly hoping he’d forgotten about his warning, yelled to me three hours earlier as I slammed the car door.
– At 17, my Dad allowed me to attend Halloween Haunt, a special event held at a local amusement park. People dressed as ghouls, zombies, vampires, and various monsters roamed the park and the normal docile rides were transformed into rides with names like, “The Tunnel of Terror,” or “Mazes of Mayhem.” The event went until 2:00 in the morning and my best friend’s Mom arrived to pick us up. Suddenly, her car sputtered and stalled and despite her best efforts the engine wouldn’t turn over. Getting out of the car, she looked at us and said, “I don’t know how we’re going to get home,” and in an instant I said, “Call my Dad!,” knowing that he’d be there in 30 minutes or so, adorned in a collared shirt and clean Levis to satisfy my Mom’s worry that he “look nice for Sara’s friends.”
– When I summoned the courage to leave my physically abusive husband, the only thought I had was, “I have to call my Dad” because I knew he would help me gather my things, drive me “home,” and help me decide what to do next.
– Despite the fact that my Dad was not a mechanic, plumber, electrician, or tradesman of any kind, every time I had car trouble, water leaking from somewhere, an appliance that didn’t work, or anything I couldn’t figure out how to fix, I sighed and thought, “I guess I’ll have to call my Dad,” knowing that although he most likely couldn’t fix the problem, he would at least help me figure out who to call.
– While reading a book I knew he would appreciate, watching a TV show that we both liked, hearing a song on the radio that reminded me of him (usually something by Merle Haggard), or seeing a great play by the Chicago Bears (his favorite team), I’d say excitedly to my spouse, ” I HAVE to call my Dad,” hoping to hear a smile in his voice or listen to one of his tired, heard-it-a-million-times jokes.
– After nearly 45 years together, I watched as my Dad held her hand and said goodbye to my Mom and for a year or so after she died I made sure to call my Dad every day, just to make sure he was okay.
– An hour or so after he died, when the nurse asked me about “arrangements,” I sat in the nearest chair and sobbed because for the first time in my life I knew I couldn’t call my Dad to ask him what to do.
Today, on a day when Father’s are celebrated and honored, I thought about my Dad and how much I miss him and I thought about the countless phone calls we shared, especially during the last years of his life. I thought about my fellow blogger and the experience she shared with her Dad after her frightening fall. And in the back of my mind as the day wore on, I wished that I could pick up the phone and call my Dad.
Happy Father’s, Dad. I love you.