Friday, December 23, 2011

One Less Bell to Answer

Dad was always hard to shop for.

If you asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he'd give the ever helpful answer typical to dads, "I don't need anything."

Mom wasn't much help.  "He could use some socks,"

Ah. Thanks. Socks. That should effectively express my love and gratitude to the man who struggled and sacrificed to raise me.  Who needs Frankincense and Myrrh when Target is having a sale on Gold Toe socks?

Dad was a golfer, so that was something to go to in a pinch.  As a knitter, golf club covers were a nice bet. But how many sets does one man need?  Golf themed photo frames and tchotchkes - he had 'em all. One year I knit a golf ball pillow. It still sits on the floor in my mom's house. That was a good one.

Mom didn't fare any better. She'd always buy him stacks and stacks of new clothing that she thought he'd look nice in. He put it in the closet with the tags on, preferring to wear the clothes he already had, which were, as he often proclaimed, perfectly good.

A few years ago I got him a plaque that I, quite frankly thought was a little trite, but I was at that desperate place - it was the plaque or more golf balls.  It was about family bonds and such. I handed it to him tentatively - not confident that I'd done well. He opened it, started reading it aloud, became choked up and couldn't finish reading. I exchanged a "what the hell?" look with my sister and my mom said, "He knows our time as a complete family is limited."

"That's dumb." I said, smiling inwardly at the fact that I'd produced the gift that had elicited so much emotion - especially from a man who wasn't known for being terribly emotional.

"It isn't Christmas 'till somebody cries!" said my sister.

We laughed.

Life went on.

Dad was always hard to shop for.

It's a hardship I miss more than I can say.


Unknown said...

I loved this post, because I miss my Dad, too, even after he's been gone for 40 years.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Nicely done. I love that he showed his emotion and that you recognized your success right then and there. I think many of our dads were stoic like that. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh Tammy, I know exactly what you mean. This year is a sad one for me too. Hold tight to your memories and look to the heavens and whisper Merry Christmas to your Dad.

xoxo jj

Anonymous said...

Damn it, Tammy! I hadn't cried yet today. I'm sure your Dad treasured that more than you know. And the socks.