That adorable little baby up there is yours truly. The man watching over him is my dad. Today would have been his 79th birthday. I’ve missed him every day since he died 5 and a half years ago, but I’ve especially missed him since I’ve become a father. I don’t get to ask him for advice, I don’t get to benefit from his fatherly wisdom, but most of all I don’t get to introduce him to his adorable grandson.
I think my dad would adore Michael…and Michael would love my dad. I can see the two playing together in my head as clear as if it were happening in front of me. The best I can do is tell Michael all the great stories about his grampa.
One of my mom’s favorites is that when I was very little, my dad like to answer the phone weird. Just as a joke. Usually he knew about the time my mom would be calling from work and he’d pick up the phone and say, “Bob’s butcher shop, you can’t beat our meat!”
Hilarious, right? Well as a little kid, I didn’t know why it was funny and I certainly didn’t get the double meaning, but I did decide that must be the proper way to answer the phone. So one day the phone rang and I was closer to it than my dad and I answered in my lil’ Tim voice, “Bob’s butcher shop, you can’t beat our meat!”
On the other end, my mother quietly said, “That’s nice dear, can I talk to your father for a moment?” [I pass dad the phone] “WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING THE BOY?!” Hilarious.
One thing we used to do a lot of was play board games like Monopoly, Scrabble and such. I remember one time, my dad rolled and decided to impress us all by counting his move in German, “Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf [long pause] …six.”
…I feel like typed out, that doesn’t convey the comedy of him realizing midway through that he didn’t know how to say “six” in German, but believe me when I tell you that game play was stopped for 20 minutes while we collected ourselves from all the laughing.
I’ll tell one last story about my dad in this blog which is much more for me the blogger than you the reader. (sorry) This one used to be in my stand-up act and I might just bring it back. When I performed this joke on stage, I did an impression of my dad’s voice. I have a pretty high speaking voice, but when I drop my register, it sounds EXACTLY like my dad. That’s why I dropped the joke after he died. It was a weird emotion hearing his voice again but coming out of me. But now, I think I’d like to hear his voice again…whatever the source.
The joke was about how my dad hated leaving voice mail messages. A typical message from my dad would be, “Hey Tim. It’s your dad.” [click]
That’s it. I wouldn’t know why he called. I wouldn’t know when a good time to call him back was. I wouldn’t know anything except the one thing I already knew…he was my dad. So I told him once, “Dad, you can leave a longer message. The machine is digital you can record for an hour if you really want to.”
A few days later I check my voice mail, “Hey Tim. Its your dad. [pause] Oookay.” [click]
…much better dad.
Well, happy birthday Dad. I dunno if you can read this or if that’s you talking to me when I dream about you. I kinda hope it is…but I kinda hope it isn’t. On one hand, it’s great to be able to talk to you again. On the other hand because it’s a dream, I never have the presence of mind to yell, “DAD YOU’RE BACK FROM THE DEAD!” Instead I say something lame like, “Hey dad where are the Frosted Flakes?” I promise, if you ever appeared to me while I was conscious, I wouldn’t bother you with trivial crap. But you would get unlimited hugs from your grandson.