Friday, July 10, 2009

Fathers and Funny Faces

I meant to publish this post around Father's Day. True to form of late (and probably future) I am behind. Still...I wanted to write about my Dad. The picture below was taken on Father's Day 1976. I am two years old. My brother Dave is one.

As a small girl I remember being surprised by the affection I felt for my Dad. It was during a church service on Father's Day. All the Primary children (ages 3-12) were on the stand singing to their Daddys. I wasn't more than three or four because I remember standing in the very front row, left side of the pulpit, looking out into the audience at my beaming Dad. Can't recall the song we were singing but I do remember the feeling that welled up in my chest and moved into my throat. I hadn't experienced this kind of emotion before. I was suddenly crying because I loved my Dad. And I knew he loved me.

Dad is one of the most happy human beings I know. He is compassionate, good-humored, and filled with love. He combats disappointment, stress and fatigue like the rest of us, but they don't deter him. Or change him. He is constant and predictable in his good nature. I can always count on a smile, joke and a hug from my Dad - no matter how he is feeling. In a world saturated with self-imposed drama, Dad is completely refreshing.

He genuinely cares about people. His charity and humor make him a fantastic physician. Hard to believe he's been practicing emergency medicine now for thirty plus years. He is witty and loves to make others laugh. During my pregnancy he cut out every cartoon about gestation, large bellies, and child-rearing he could find. The Far Side with a woman whose protruding backside was mistaken by her OB for a baby "not quite in position for delivery" was my favorite.

Dad loves everything about life. From the organic and beautiful (nature, fishing and hunting) to the different, unique, and even quirky. Like the loud ties he wears in the ER, the non-traditional menu choices (alligator legs?) And remember the layered lime and raspberry cake he made a couple months ago? (Pleck! Even Dad admitted - it was SO sour!) He makes minced pies for the holidays. (I thought minced pies were a thing of the past. Come to think of it, what IS a minced pie?) And then there's his fascination with facts like how wide a hippo can open its mouth. (Greater than 180 degrees if you wanted to know.) Dad can out-museum, out-theme park, and out-movie the most fit of entertainment patrons. He is determined to soak up everything this good life has to offer.

Dad's mother coined a family phrase he has passed on that encourages us to opt for trying something new. "You're IQ demands it" he would say, which meant learn as much as you can about everything. So when we were sitting in the car on a family trip bemoaning the fact that we had to get out and walk into one more visitors' center or try a new food that looked questionable, we would think, who wants to be demoralized by not increasing their IQ?

This is me and my Daddy looking at an old scrapbook.

Dad is intelligent. He retains everything he reads (including hundreds of interesting but useless facts). He loves to read sci-fi, history, westerns (thank you for turning me on to Louis L'Amour at an early age Dad), war books and religious commentary. Actually, he just re-read the last Harry Potter in prep for the new movie (and finished the entire series before I could make it through book three). When it comes to reading, he devours most everything.

Now. Lest I tout my Dad as infallible, let me say he has been known to drive fast (although in control) and curse "stupid drivers." But not with profanity. Dad prefers more resourceful phrases like "dagnabbit," or "may the fleas of a thousand camels nest in your armpits." As a teenager I concluded that some kind of lead-footed alter-ego took over when he got behind the wheel. When off the streets, however, Dad was sweet as sugar. We gave him this "Super Dad" tee when I was five years old (above).

I have wonderful memories with my Dad. Eating ice cream sundaes at Snelgrove's, seeing him in the audience during the final rounds of the school spelling bee, playing hymns at the piano with his rich bass voice in the background, horse-back rides up Tibble Fork, long talks about gospel principles and christlike living, and more recently - watching him tease my daughters, comb "scallywonks" (snarls) from their hair, tell them stories about "Little Robert," and deliver edible "mud and worms" to them on April Fool's Day.

The picture above was taken this year on Father's Day. Spencer and Gordon were still in the hospital but we made this necklace of hearts for my Dad. One decorated heart from each of my children. I love that even though it's Father's Day, my Dad has still donned his apron in preparation for his family to join him for dinner.

Dad - I love you so very much. Thanks for all your wisdom, example, and love. We are thrilled that Gordon Robert is your namesake. Much of what I joy, appreciate and want to be in life, is because of you.

There is one more Daddy I want to salute in keeping with Father's Day accolades. Doug. He is one loved Daddy. Without question he is the favorite lately. The girls want him to do everything. Mom's been too disconnected for too long. I'm just the woman with two new babies in the background.

Doug enjoys every moment he has to be with his girls (and boys!) In the picture above Doug and Eliza are snuggling after church. Mint life-savers in their mouths.

Proud Daddy with his two sons. The day Spencer and Gordon came home.

The week I had the babies Doug left town on a Sunday evening, due to return Monday evening. A short work trip to Denver. He left while I was at church with the girls. When we arrived home we were greeted by four balloons (leftover from Eliza's birthday party). All artwork courtesy of Doug. To appreciate this gesture you have to know that one of Doug's hallmarks with the girls is to make funny faces at them through the garage window whenever he is leaving the house. It always makes the girls laugh. So here are Doug's funny faces - left for the girls to discover in lieu of his usual exit exchange.

I particularly liked the ballon that read, "Please be obedient and listen to Mommy." Nice touch.

And on the blackboard in the kitchen we found this note.

The girls walked around with their balloons for a couple days. Just a small reminder that their Daddy loves them.

You are the best Doug. Having our boys home and you to help was synergy. We understood what needed to be done and did it, without much talk, just enjoyment. I wish you could take the next month off! And so do the girls! A belated Happy Father's Day! We love you!


  1. I can't believe how much Eliza looks like you did when you were little-in that first pic of you and your dad and your brother she looks EXACTLY like you!

  2. That was such a sweet post. I too have very fond memories of your Dad. He was so friendly and made the silliest jokes, "Why is a duck?" I seriously did NOT get it, but I liked him for it! You guys are very lucky to have him, and your girls to have Doug. Love reading your posts!

  3. WOW! I love that tribute to Dad! It is all so true and we are so lucky to have him! I also love the tribute you gave Doug! He is such a good Daddy and we can all see that. Thanks for making me laugh, cry and smile!! XO


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