Downriver Dad Gets Better With Age
Vicki Briganti – WWJ-TV Writer / Producer / Editor
I love my dad. I know Sunday is Father’s Day, and everyone is buying cards that say their dad is the best. But mine really is.
Does your dad spend a minimum of six hours in your yard every spring helping you clean the sides of your pool and pond, put air in your bike tires, and charge your scooter battery? Does he come back in the fall for six more hours to close the pool and pond? I thought not.
My dad is handy; I call him Geppetto. He fixed my shoe. He fished my earring out of the drain. I joke he could make himself a son out of wood. If your dad is handy like mine, he lends you tools.
Vicki: “Hey, Dad, I need to make a hole in this.”
Dad: “Okay, I’ll bring over my grommet maker.”
Grommet? That sounds more like a Muppet character than a legitimate tool. He not only knows what it is, he owns one! He told me, “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Word up. Handy and philosophical. Is your dad as wise?
Speaking of wisdom, my dad knows about stuff. From leaking roofs and faucets to insurance to work related issues, I seek and value his advice. Animals are his specialty. He “made it harder” for mice to enter my home by sealing off holes in my crawl space. And bees? Don’t get him started. Bob has a freakishly high bee IQ. I had bees, er, sorry dad, “bumblebees” in my basement. He identified the Queen Bee, captured it in a jar, and had me ride my bike a few miles away and release it. I call that experience our “bee relocation program.” My mom once swatted one away and cried, “Get that bee away from me!” My dad quickly replied, “That’s not a bee, Barb. It’s a yellow jacket.”
A Dad Will Not Say Never
Feel free to ask him about bats, rabbits, squirrels, or birds. What they eat, how they nest. He’ll inform you and entertain you at the same time. During our last visit, he seamlessly riffed from one horse tale to another like a jazz master of storytelling. The day he taught me to tie sticks together by knotting a piece of cloth he cut from an old T-shirt, I marveled, “Dad, how do you know how to do this?” He said, “I’m 67 years old, Vic. I’ve been around a while.”
Yet he still surprises me. I had to stop him during one of his stories as he said, “That was when I worked at the post office.” Whoa, wait, what? When did he work at a post office? A year later, same thing. “That was junior year of high school when I wrote for the school paper.” He keeps talking like I already knew that. (I didn’t.) Who is this man?
The Welcome Will Not End
As they grow older, you start worrying about your parents like they do about you, no matter how old you get. As an adult, I remember receiving the “concerned parental look” from my dad when he saw my scooter. I saw the look again when I showed him flames leaping out of my furnace. “Under no circumstances are you to use this furnace until you call a repairman!” he scolded.
I have a friend who’s an ER doctor. He sees many summer admissions from motorcycle accidents and scull fractures from ladder falls. So, now I have to scold my dad, “Under no circumstances are you to use a ladder without a helmet!”
Such is the cycle of life. The student becomes the teacher. Now I have to worry about him. He’s in great shape, though. I hope he lives forever. Men come and go, but dad is always there. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
To all you dads and granddads, happy father’s day. Be the best dad you can be. It’s your legacy. To men who don’t have kids, be a good uncle or mentor. Your time might come. If you do a decent job, your kid might grow up and write a blog about how much you’re loved.
>> More Motor City Musing With Vicki Briganti