My father was a big presence in my life especially as I got older. When I was young I always remember him building things, always puttering around the house. That man could fix anything that was broken. When I was about 11 he built a swing set from scratch using some kind of heavy metal poles and cementing them into the ground so that my girlfriend and I could swing as high as we wanted. We actually tried to swing high enough to jump off from the highest point hoping to break our legs because we thought that would be cool. Neither one of us ever broke a leg. We would sing folk songs as we swung. “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley” was our favorite by the Kingston Trio.
When I was about 6 he used to get up very early on Saturday mornings and putter around the yard and when I would wake up we would walk together up the road to a spring in the woods and get gallons of spring water. He never talked a lot but I enjoyed those walks so much.
The thing I remember most about him is no matter what I did wrong he never got angry at me. He never yelled or hit. The first time he let me use his brand new Mustang I was in the city trying to get around a truck parked on a very narrow street and ended up scratching the whole side of the car. I called him on the phone crying and he just said don’t worry about it, just come home, everything will be fine and as usual it always was.
THIS IS HOW I REMEMBER MY DAD WHEN I WAS 17 YEARS OLD. HE’S LAYING ON THE FLOOR IN THE KITCHEN AFTER WORK TAKING A LITTLE CATNAP IN FRONT OF THE FIREPLACE BEFORE SUPPER. THIS PARTICULAR CHRISTMAS HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE GOOD TO GET A FAKE TREE. WE ALL WENT NUTS AND SAID NO WAY. HE PUT HIS FAKE TREE IN THE KITCHEN AND WE GOT A REAL TREE FOR THE LIVING ROOM. WE ALSO USED TO TEASE HIM ABOUT HIS STINKY FEET AFTER WORK. WE’D SAY “DAD, KEEP YOUR SHOES ON”.
When we were young, he didn’t talk to us a lot but he was always there for us. He did most of the cooking at home. Early on we found out that my Mom couldn’t cook to save her soul, which she spent most of her life doing (saving her soul, not cooking). Thank goodness, my Dad had a natural knack for cooking and saved us all from starvation.
When we worked together in our little health food store he made a vegetarian soup everyday in the winter that we sold for $.99 a cup including crackers. He had about 15 recipes all in his head. Fortunately I wrote them down. My favorite was “Red Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms”. He was famous for his “Potato Leek Soup” (not weight watchers approved). Everyone in town called him “Stan, the Soup Man”.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I go into town and go to the grocery store and someone stops me to talk about my Dad.
When I was about 12 years old I wanted a Barbie doll for Christmas. There were none left in town to be bought. I remember a couple of days before Christmas my Dad took me to every store within a 50 mile radius to find a Barbie doll. I don’t think he actually knew what a Barbie was so he had me come with him. We finally found one . It was the last one on the shelf and the first Christmas for Barbies. But this one was the bomb. It not only had Barbie but it was a kit with like 10 different outfits and of course, he bought it and told me to act surprised on Christmas morning so my Mom wouldn’t know what he had done.
MY DAD AS A YOUNG MAN!
I got my love of photography from him. He actually made home movies in the 40’s with special effects. His “Woofy Runs Away” was a hit in town. Woofy was a teddy bear who runs away. My Mom had him on strings like a puppet running through the woods. There were many more special effects that awed the boy scouts that he showed it to.
THIS MADE THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER BECAUSE HIS PHOTOGRAPHY WAS SO INNOVATIVE.
The last Father’s Day that he was alive a local magazine was looking for people to write in about their Dads and why we loved them. I had never written anything before in my life but I E-mailed this to the magazine. They liked it and contacted me within ten minutes asking if they could come and photograph us. Not being shy I said “Hell Yea”.
For me every day is Father’s Day. My father and I work together in a small store on Main Street in Falmouth. Everyday day on my way to work I look forward to seeing his little black car parked out in front of the store. He is 84 years old and we have worked together for 15 years. He never misses work and the one constant in my life is seeing his car every morning when I pull in the driveway. When I see it, I know it will be a good day and everything is right in the world.
He makes a fresh pot of soup every morning in the winter for our customers and everyone calls him Stan the Soup Man. If customers don’t see his car they will stop in asking if he is OK.
(Usually he is just out getting his car washed.) If my brother and sister drive by and don’t see his car, they will call me.
Seeing that car every morning symbolizes the fact that my father is with me, that he is the one person I can count on and we are going to have another good day at work.
THAT’S MY DAD AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
MY DAD AND I ON THE COVER OF THE MAGAZINE
I am one of the fortunate ones to have had a wonderful and superb Dad whom I miss with all my heart and soul. He passed away on January 16, 2000. He made it to the new millennium. Every time I drive by where the store used to be I miss seeing his car parked out front.