Father’s Day is this weekend. Since I haven’t had a father since 1995, you’d think that it’s a holiday that I don’t think about. And yet, I have a Father’s Day Gifts list with three names on it. How did that happen? I’ve been trying to think of the significance of this holiday. My father and I didn’t have the greatest of relationship so I don’t really remember much celebrating. I’m sure there were Happy Father’s Day cards and gifts of socks, ties, shirts, etc. What else did we do? I can’t recall.
I’d rather not linger on all the negative of our relationship, but would rather reflect on the good stuff here. Maybe this is the eulogy I never gave.
My father loved to drive. When I was a kid, all stores except for pharmacies and flea markets were closed on Sundays. My mom wanted us out of the house so she could clean and cook Sunday dinner. Dad could drive for hours until I’d turn green. Sometimes we had a destination like the airport to watch the planes come and go. Other times, we’d hit the U.S. border, grab an ice cream or a drink, then drive back to Montreal. Driving was his passion. Back in Italy, he thought Driver’s Ed. In Brazil, he drove a bus, the Sao Paolo to Santos route. (A note on this route. If you’ve taken it recently, you took the new highway which is modern, wide and safe. I took this route multiple times prior to its construction. It was TERRIFYING. It consisted of two lanes precarious perched on the side of a steep hill with only a barrier made of toothpicks and held by spit for safety. I admire my father for making a living out of driving it for years.) Then, in Montreal, after years of quitting one job after another, he became a cab driver and stuck to it. Lesson: do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
He loved to read and listen to music. If it weren’t for him, I’d have no appreciation of either since my mother is a total visual person and is the only human on the planet who hates music. Like me, Dad read everything from instructions to newspapers to novels to bios, and history and religion books. We’re not picky. It’s all about mood. The same goes for music. He owned opera, jazz, rock and disco. He even came to a Rolling Stones concert with me and enjoyed it until he fell asleep. I don’t know how with the decibel level bordering on make-your-ears-bleed (I’ve been to heavy metal concerts that weren’t that loud.), but he did. Guess he was tired.
He also loved to discuss politics and religion and had few boundaries when it came to either topic. He’d ask strangers questions like “What did you think of Hitler?” I don’t know if it was the way he asked or the vibe he gave off but people usually answered those bizarre inappropriate questions sincerely. And Dad would definitely listen to the answer. He wasn’t out to provoke or convince or promote a personal agenda. He was genuinely curious about others’ opinions.
Of course, no Italian can carry that nationality without a love of food. He had a gargantuan appetite for good food and he was an excellent cook. Oddly enough, he didn’t drink alcohol unless it was cut with sparkling water. The only time I saw him have a glass of straight wine, he literally fell out of his chair completely drunk, ended up on his ass, stretched out, and proceeded to pass out. It was hilarious.
What’s the funniest thing your father ever did? What do you do with your dad on Father’s Day? How many fathers that aren’t yours do you have on your gift list?