Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Today's moment of Dad, brought to you by Joan of Arc (hair shirts optional)

Today's "Moment of Dad" is actually a list of sorts. These are some of the things Dad would do even though he didn't like to do them...all because he loved us.

1. He wore plaid shirts but didn't necessarily like plaid shirts.

I asked him why one day because I always associated Dad and Plaid. Go figure.

His response was, "Well, your mother likes plaid, and she buys my shirts."

I shot back, "Well, why don't you tell her you don't like plaid?"

He said, "I don't want to hurt her feelings, and I don't want to buy my own shirts."

Looking back, maybe his stance on plaid was more self-serving than I thought.

2. Dad HATED peanut butter as much as he LOVED toast.

When I say "hated", I don't necessarily mean he'd blow up the Skippy and Jif processing plants, but he wouldn't be taking a guided tour either. He simply didn't like the stuff at all.

I, on the other hand, loved the stuff.

I really feel bad about this next part too...I've never really forgiven myself for this.

When I was little (before I started kindergarten), Mom was a wizard at making peanut butter sandwiches.

She cut the crusts off. She drew the letter "S" into the peanut butter with the knife. She put it on a plate. I'd eat them, but I'd still whine, "I want DADDY to make it!"

I don't know why...maybe it was the fact that Daddy was busy at work, and when he was home I wanted to be with him. If I hurt her feelings about it, I'm so sorry now.

But remembering how Dad would spread the peanut butter was so hilarious.

It was like he was handling toxic waste or something. He hated the smell, the color and the texture. Therefore, when he made a peanut butter sandwich, he stretched his arm out while leaning back as far as he could to not smell the peanut butter or have to come in contact with the stuff. The sandwiches weren't as pretty as Mom's but DADDY MADE IT AND THAT'S WHAT I WANTED.

That sacrifice alone should have gotten him through the Pearly Gates.

3. Dad's musical taste and attending concerts playing music he just didn't get.

(Petey baby, I think you already know where I'm going with this one.)

As I progressed in my music studies, I became acquainted with many types of music that I'd never heard much at home. Jazz, classical, baroque, medieval, avant-garde, fusion, Afro-Cuban, tastes were expanding.

My dad...not so much. We still liked some of the same music, but there was some of it he simply didn't understand. Michael Jackson was one.

"My God...who is that?"

"Uh...Michael Jackson."

"Maybe my question should have been what is that?"

(This brings me to the do fathers trigger the rolling of their teenage daughters' eyes? Answer: by statements such as the one listed above this paragraph. I'm rolling my gray eyes now, even though I feel the same thing about Michael Jackson these days.)

When I entered the U of Iowa (and even before that), many of the concerts I was in involved music in other languages. Unless it was in German and he could figure out a little bit of it, he didn't have a clue.

Avant-garde stuff definitely was not his cup of tea, so if piano strings were being strummed or hubcaps banged upon (I'm exaggerating, BTW, just so I don't get angry notes about hubcaps) he was not in the front row, but he was there.

As I got older, I found out that he went to his niece and nephew's concerts as well if his brother couldn't go. So apparently this didn't begin and end with my sister and I - he also attended concerts for his grandchildren.

People would come up to him at concerts sometimes, complimenting him on our musical proficiency. Dad would swell his chest and say (in his own, self-deprecating way) "Well, they got all their talent from me...because I don't have any left."

He was proud, though. He was the one who took me to my scholarship audition at the University of Iowa. He only missed one Iowa All-State Concert because my sister had her wisdom teeth out. He made sure Ruthi and I had piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons, whatever. He smiled when we played and sang instead of looking at his watch.

Well, before I start to cry and short out my keyboard, I'll have to halt this "moment of Dad". But I'm glad I have it to remember.

Sudiegirl, who won't forget the sacrifices...