Celebrating Dad’s oddities on his day
For the past six years, I’ve been pretty far away from my father on Father’s Day – either more than halfway across the country, or halfway around the world. No matter where I am, I can’t help but laugh when people ask me what my Dad’s like.
My brother once used the phrase “a few sandwiches short of a picnic” to describe our family. Well, our Dad carries that picnic basket.
It’s hard to explain; he’s just “Hutch,” as most call him. At Christmas, he takes his role as Santa Claus very seriously, even though my brother and I both have not lived in the house for a long time. He still expects milk and cookies in exchange for sneaking around the house Christmas Eve stuffing stockings for the whole family with mysterious items (Did I say mysterious? I meant random!).
One year, we each got a roll of duct tape. “Come on, duct tape is so functional,” he tells us.
Another year, we each got a new pair of scissors (he even remembered to give me left-handed scissors). And he wraps every single little item in our stockings, down to the smallest tube of chapstick, a pen, or a gold chocolate coin.
On family vacations to the beach, he would bring real shovels, large buckets and other tools you could only find at a construction site, to build sandcastles. He would recruit all of the other kids on the beach to help him out. His sandcastle projects turned into beachfront mob scenes.
For some reason, he always had to have a bigger kite flying than any other tourist (or young, eager child). One year he bought one of those colorful, dragon-tailed kites in Maine. It was eight times the size of me. I was humiliated at the spectacle we made when we tried to get that puppy to fly. Of course, it did fly. And it was attached to his beach chair the remainder of the week.
When I was a freshman in high school, and just starting to bring boys by the house, he came home one day wearing an earring.
It was a rhinestone stud in his right ear! He hadn’t even changed out of his work suit. Well, it turned out to be one of those magnetic earrings.
“Cool! Your dad is cool,” my friend Clay said to that one. Silliness set aside, he is cool.
And it’s touches like that that show me how much he cares. He doesn’t normally express things so much with words and lengthy speeches as he does it with his actions.
When I graduated from college he bought me a fresh flower lei from a stand outside of the football stadium, helped man the barbecue at my graduation party, joked with my friends and played with the little kids. His down-to-earth nature, strength, gentle kindness and curiosity in the bizarre have helped shape what a role model means to me. For me, Father’s Day is about celebrating these qualities my father has impressed upon me.
Over the past six years, I find myself making up reasons why I could call my Dad – just so I could hear his voice and chat with him about this or that. Reasons such as car problems, computer problems – things I can’t seem to fix so well. But Sunday I think I’ll call just to say “Happy Father’s Day,” and “thanks.”
Abby Hutchinson is a Sierra Sun reporter.
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