This is what I read when I got up to talk about my dad at his celebration of life last February...
My dad never called things by their regular names. I was Homgotep Tetsep. Ry was Rap Juja. Andy was Gilly Bop. Our family alone knows what a Hogan Bom is, where to find the Flipper Gimmie, and what we were eating when we heard that for dinner we were having "Ladadadadoohdah-dah." (Mexican food).
My dad loved to cook. I remember one time he made the best fresh peach milkshake.He went to the trouble of battering and deep fat frying halibut into mouth-watering goodness. His spaghetti sauce, his chicken and gravy, his omelets, thoughts of these all inspire my mouth to water.
My dad was musical. He was never in a choir but loved to croon.His songs were often impromptu and silly. They were loud, commanding, and he could be sitting at the dining room table by himself while everyone else had gone on to do something else and he would break into song, even if nobody was watching. He belonged on stage a little.
My dad didn't want anything in life to hurt me. When I was a baby I went down the front steps in my wheeled walker and chipped my front tooth and my dad broke the walker into many pieces.
My dad took us places as a family. I lamented every fishing trip we had to take when we were kids, but still loved looking for rocks on the riverbanks.
My dad was a rebel. We attended a funeral for his aunt and while we sat in the pew folding our programs into pteradactyls and collapsing into fits of giggles, people knew whose kids they were, they were my dad's! He was the son of a preacher and would sit, holding his breath and then letting it out in a gust that made the people around him think he was having a "religious experience."
My dad was there for me when I really needed him. When it was time for me to go away to college and I was feeling like nobody cared or would miss me, my dad got me a gift for every day of the week, things like a notebook with sections for me to take class notes in, and an iron. My freshman year of college when my first love broke up with me, I felt a despair I'd never felt before and called home for consolation, expecting my mom to deliver it. She said, "I knew that was going to happen." But my dad had words that comforted me, and I remembered how good he made me feel.
My dad was proud of me. I spent my first year teaching in Roseburg. He was a Rotarian and when they did their rose sale I remember him bringing a dozen roses to my classroom and how proudly he would say, "Tia's a teacher."
My dad made me laugh. When I was little and he tucked me in, he would go to leave and "slam" into the doorway, "hurting himself" and exaagerating his pain, leaving me laughing harder at that than at anything. He had a great sense of humor. He was a quite a character.
I am proud of who my dad was. I was lucky to be his daughter. I miss him very much.