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Question of the day

Friday, Jun 13, 2008

Father’s Day is Sunday, so tell us a sweet story about your dad.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Kevin Fanning - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 9:58 am:

    Dad doesn’t like telemarketers much. One of the funnier memories I have was when one called he told the guy that he was a quadriplegic and “had to crawl to the phone and pick it up with his teeth, so it had better be important.” Happy Father’s Day Dad.

  2. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 10:01 am:

    My first year in Pee Wee baseball my dad was the coach. At the end of the season, he and a couple other dads paid the way for the entire team to go to our first MLB game at Busch Stadium (circa 1975) even though we are Cub fans.
    The trip was great—a bunch of hillbilly boys getting to see professional baseball in person for the first time. Some of us got scared of heights climbing to our nosebleed seats (our town’s tallest building was 3 stories) and the foul balls didn’t land in our section.
    But what a day it was….baseball, hot dogs, (no apple pie) and fathers spending 12 hours straight wiht their sons and 10 other kids!
    He’s been gone just over 3 years now and I miss him more than I thought I would. He was born in 1945 (last time Cubs in World Series) and his father was born in 1909 (year after they last won). I’m carrying the Cubs torch for them!

  3. - Madigan Brown - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 10:19 am:

    My dad was a public servant most of my life, but he was always was my dad, first. He never tried to influence the way my brother and I thought, especially politically and always told us it was more important to be educated and vote. He was a man of few words, but those words meant something. I admired him and respected him for obviously more reasons than that but that one always surprised people. He died on my birthday in 2006. I miss him every day and especially now that I have a son. I’ll always tell me son what a great man he was. Here’s to you dad and hoping you’re enjoying the open water. I miss you.

  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 10:27 am:

    My Dad graduated college at the age of 61. He pursued his degree because he enlisted into the Navy on December 8, 1941 when he was a junior in college. When he returned from the war, like most veterans, he got married and raised a large family. His accomplishment showed me that I should never abandon my goals. He cried when he walked down the aisle with his diploma. He died about 6 years ago and I miss him every day.

  5. - Mark Johnson - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    My Dad is one of my hero’s. He didn’t graduate High School after trying the 11th grade twice. He had dyslexia and back in the mid-1950’s and rural Kentucky they didn’t know what that was or how it affected learning. He did have a History/Civics teacher pick up on the fact that he was very very bight and gave my Dad all his test orally. This fueled a passion for history, politics and such and of course it rubbed off me. I ended up with a Poly Sci / History degree from U of I and a dad wondereing what in the world was I gonna do with that.

    He is my hero because he has never quit even when life threw at him some of the toughest curves. He ran our small family business for 36 years and for a good majority of that time worked 6 days a week. He’s retired now and the business is closed and I’m glad he gets to enjoy a happy retirement. But he’s my hero from the example he has shown me from his strong work ethic and can do spirit to how to be a good dad.

  6. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    My dad is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known, even as his life was one set of troubles after another. He was once on a fast track to a high position in the corporate world, then hit rock bottom as a resident at a state hospital who had lost his home and family, and finally pulled his life together to become a respectable and loving person. When I was younger, I resented a lot of what he put my mom and us through, but as I have grown older, I respect the lessons his life taught me. We are closer now than we have ever been, and I love my dad.

  7. - Remembering Dad - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:11 am:

    My Dad provided an excellent example of a rock solid family man – he supported 5 kids and a stay-at-home wife on a modest salary and I’m sure Dad made a hell of a lot of sacrifices to do so. We were never aware growing up that we lacked anything. Sunday morning in the 1960s was Dad’s day to fix breakfast – stacks of hot pancakes and lots of personal time with Dad – he wouldn’t have his own breakfast until us kids were all full. My Dad passed away 5 years ago surrounded by his family but if I listen closely I still hear him in my heart.

  8. - My Opinion - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    My dad is a “small-town” guy that always sees the need for betterment of his community, school district, family, and his own life. He was my coach when I was a kid, and in many ways, still is my coach. As his only daughter, I was always able to win with him, even when I should have lost. I was his first born, and he always says I am his experiment. His family has always come first, be it my brothers, mother and I, or his own mom and dad. I have never run accross someone so special, and I am sure I never will. He is a wonderful father and grandpa. I am very fortunate to have him in my life.

  9. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:13 am:


    When I was a very little boy, my family took a (rare!) vacation to Yellowstone. On the trip there, we encountered what was, to that time, the grimiest bathroom my young eyes had ever seen. (My hardened Chicagoland eyes would recognize it as “clean enough.”)

    After we had done our business, my dad then took a fist-full of paper towels and a bar of soap — it was back in the days of bar soap — and began wiping down the sink and mirror. I asked him why he was cleaning the restroom and he said, “No matter how bad it is, you can always leave a place better than you found it.” He finished up. We washed our hands and we got back on the road.

    He didn’t intend for that trip to the john to be a life-lesson that would last for decades, but the idea of “leaving things better than you found them” was a guiding principle of his life and I’ve tried to make it a loadstar of mine.

    I guess that wasn’t exactly a sweet story… how’s this? When my niece was an infant, my dad carried her all over Chicago in one of those papoose outfits — the ones they took off the market because people dropped the babies through the leg holes. It was a shockingly bright baby blue and looked silly as hell, but he loved the damn thing cause it let him carry her all day long.

    – SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  10. - J Bacon - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:19 am:

    My dad can make anyone laugh, probably from years of entertaining nervous patients in the dentist’s chair. He switched professions 5 years ago to become a reserve Sheriff, and at the age of 56 found his true calling and was awarded officer of the year in my Indiana hometown. I love him and admire him for his generosity and dedication to helping others.

  11. - Shelbyville - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:28 am:

    My dad was a Republican back in the days of patronage. He gladly paid his 2 % to the Shelby Co. Central Committee. When a Republican office holder would die or be defeated, he would just clean out his desk and resign. He worked for Carpentier and Ogilivie most of his life,

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:34 am:

    My dad was one of those guys who always used compass directions instead of left or right. We’d be moving something, for instance, and he’d say, “OK, a little bit to the East. The East. The East!!!”

    Dad and I took a trip to some former Communist countries in Central Europe several years ago. We went to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

    We were on a highway somewhere in the old Commie Bloc when he suddenly said he thought we were driving in the wrong direction.

    “The sun’s over there,” he said. “That’s West. The sun rises in the West and sets in the East so we’re going in the wrong direction.”

    I was stunned.

    “Dad, the sun rises in the East,” I said.

    After a long pause, he said, “Oh, yeah. OK.”

    This may sound strange, but I think that was the first time I realized he was fully human.

    The above story may also help explain the Obamalac.

  13. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:34 am:

    The old man tried retiring once, but it drove him crazy, so he went back to painting and hanging paper. I could hear him on the phone, laughing, joking and charming some housewife he was going to do some work for when he had the big gripper.

    The doctor said he was dead before he hit the floor. He added from the autopsy that it looked like he’d had two or three minor heart attacks recently. All I remember was a few nights when he took a couple of aspirin with a Budweiser and went to bed early.

    Tough old Norwegian, some bark but not much bite. Went to sea at 14, lived through hard times in the Depression and war, rolled the dice and came here in 1948. Worked to the end, and gave all of his kids the opportunity of America. Not much schooling, but one of the most well-read and erudite persons I’ve ever known. Gone 23 years, think about him every day.

  14. - cermak_rd - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:36 am:

    My father is a wonderful father. After their divorce, when I was quite young, he reared me by himself and gave up at least one promotion that would have involved traveling so he could be there for me. He’s been retired for years now, and has switched his interest in Chemistry for one in Botany as he is heavily involved in prairie restoration and quite passionate about the environment.

    I like to think I got some of his smarts and some of his passion and I hope enough of his spirit of self-sacrifice to be a good parent myself.

    Love you, Dad.

  15. - Levois - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:52 am:

    Some of the more interesting times my dad and I had was going to the area race tracks especially during the summer. We could go to Arlington, Sportsmans, Hawthorne, Maywood, and Balmoral. I thought about that when the Preakness was on TV last week.

  16. - the Other Anonymous - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 11:52 am:

    My Dad lived the stereotype of the absent-minded professor.

    My Mother was doing spring cleaning, and my Dad was hanging around trying to be helpful, but really just getting in the way. To distract him, my Moither finally told him that he should change the burnt-out light bulb in the study.

    The ploy worked, and my Mother had several hours of peace — thinking that Dad went to the study and got distracted by work.

    Eventually, she looked in on Dad. He was standing on the stepladder, staring at the burnt-out bulb and holding the new lightbulb in his right hand.

    “Oh, I’m glad you’re here,” he said to my Mother. “I forgot, so tell me: does the lightbulb turn clockwise or counterclockwise?”

  17. - Ahem - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 12:26 pm:

    My Dad was in the Navy during WWII also. He rose to Chief Petty Officer, although he hated exercising authority. Where I grew up he fixed everything – we never saw a tradesman or service technician in our house. One day when I was a kid I said it would be nice to have a clubhouse in the back yard. The next thing I knew he was building it. He actually let me help a little :)

  18. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 12:26 pm:

    My dad’s hobby was HAM radio. He spent every Sunday afternoon speaking to missionaries in South America, in the Amazon jungle. He was their Sunday contact to the States. He did this for years. We had many missionaries visit our house when I was growing up.

    Due to cancer, Dad didn’t make it to retirement age. When we held his memorial service, there were Amazon missionaries there who eulogized about his work. He helped them get books for schools, he helped them reach emergency medical personnel in the jungle. He helped them when the Brazilian government started wiping out the tribes they were serving. Dad was on that radio every Sunday for them, making connections that impacted their lives, and the lives of the villagers they served.

    Dad was a respected gentleman working third shift at a factory by night, and using his hobby to make a difference in far away jungles on Sundays. He was a great VanillaMan who showed me that being a man means having a back strong enough for others, even those living far away, to lean on.

  19. - zatoichi - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 12:34 pm:

    He taught me how to use tools and be self reliant. We went camping all over the United States because it was important to see the country and understand how other people lived. When life threw some crap he just found a way around it and moved on. Family was all important. I cannot begin to count how many sports events my brother or I were in that he attended. Endless small stuff rubbed off that I never realized I had learned. As I get older I see his hands on the steering wheel even though they are attached to me. Almost like he is still here.

  20. - observation - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 12:54 pm:

    Born in 1915, the 3rd eldest in a family of 11. When he was in the eighth grade, he had to quit school to help on the family farm. Growing up, I didn’t realize how much our family struggled, but Daddy made sure that the four of us kids always had everything we needed and most of the things we thought we wanted. When my oldest sister entered college in 1963, financial aid was not as readily available so Dad got a “job in town” which meant that he farmed nights and weekends. The three of us kids still at home picked up more chores. When my brother started college, he got yet another job. And so on….. There are four of us kids and four years between each of us – that means 16 straight years of college with no breaks. My college graduation day was one of his proudest moments. His goal to provide an education to each one of his kids had been finally been accomplished.

    About 60 acres of the farmland was river-bottom ground. It would flood, he would replant. It would flood again, he would replant. There were several years in row that after replanting in the Spring, the Fall floods took out the corn crop. All of that work and no profit. Watching the recent flood reports have brought back memories. Our family would be standing on the bluff looking down at the massive amounts of water with that year’s corn crop peeking out from the current. Dad would just smile and say, “well, next year will be better.” At the time I didn’t understand why he wasn’t angry, why he didn’t yell. I do know now – he had the resilience of a Depression-era farmer and the honesty and character of a hardworking family man. He also didn’t waste time complaining about things that were out of his control. By example, it was some of the best advice I’ve ever received.

    My Daddy died in August, 2000 at age 85. He had been studying for his GED “just to see if he could do it” and he said that he wanted to see his own name on a diploma. Although retired, he had planted 120 acres that year and there were no floods. He left his kids with record crop yields standing tall and proud in the fields. And I know that he left me proud that I was blessed with such a wonderful father.

    Miss you, Daddy!

  21. - Bill S. Preston, Esq. - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 1:10 pm:

    I was 5 years old and we were taking one of our all-night-driving road trips in the big blue Chevy van. I had to go to the bathroom, but the weather was horrible and we were in the middle of nowhere, so I used the little plastic potty seat as we continued to drive. When I was finished my mom handed the seat up to my dad so he could throw it out the window. He rolled down the window and whipped the contents out of the seat… which the wind then blew right back in his face.

    Willing to risk pee in the face… that’s love. And that it’s one of my dad’s favorite stories to tell speaks volumes about his humor.

  22. - Pops - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 1:34 pm:

    Two words, Mr. Americana

  23. - Grateful Son-of-a Great Man - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 4:05 pm:

    My Dad died last fall at age 76 of pancreatic cancer. What a great Dad and a great man - I think about him every day. . .and more highly of him with each and every challenge I face. His own Dad left when he was five. . .but he did one hell of a job being an awesome Dad himself in spte of that, or maybe because of it. Fun, funny, hard-working, spiritual, good to others, a great husband to my Mom. I miss you Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

  24. - Skeeter - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 4:23 pm:

    I really don’t have one, but how about my Germ. Shep’s dad? Before we obtained our dog, we met both of his parents. His father (Harry vom Klutzenplatz) was a beautiful dog, but a bit wild. We brought our 5 year old nephew with us to meet him and the pups. What does Harry do? Jumps on our nephew and knocks him down. But he did it in such a well meaning but clumsy manner that it made all of us — including our nephew — laugh. The nephew bounced right back up and petted the dog. We started talking to the breeder, who gave the dog a quick sit command. The dog immediately complied although you could see from his face that he really wanted to play. That was the exact sort of dog we wanted — spirited, but very trainable. We chose one of his puppies that day (the real “Skeeter.”) Four years later, seeing Skeeter with my toddlers, I see that same gentle clumsyness. He adores the twins as if they were his own pups. At times, he is clumsy with them (when my son tries to “throw” the dog’s ball, the dog will knock my son down going after it). It is amazing seeing that despite all we have done to train this dog, at heart, he is not my dog by Harry’s little boy.

  25. - annon in the stykes - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 4:32 pm:

    There were too many to mention here, alot of little things along the way I come to think of at Fathers Day. Many things as simple acts of kindness without fan fare. Suffice it to say he was one of the good guys, family first, loving father & husband. I don’t if he ever fully realized how much I loved him & wanted to be like him. My hero in every possible sense of the word. I love & miss you Dad !

  26. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 9:11 pm:

    My Dad was a true pioneer and adventurer who never lost his love for people, life, singing, and dancing no matter what hardships he faced–and that’s the greatest lesson I learned from him though there were so many.

    As a little boy in Europe, his favorite pastime was to disappear–barefoot–into the forest for hours, exploring.

    He had to drop out of school in third grade when WWII was at its worst and almost died before he and my grandparents were able to escape to Brazil.

    In Brazil, he became an auto mechanic who worked hard and saved enough money to build a new home, start a working ranch, and open a successful grocery store. I was born a year after he and my Mom married.

    When I was less than a year old, he coaxed my Mom into leaving for the U.S. to pursue the American Dream. He carried me onto the plane, with my skeptical Mom following. They brought along one suitcase full of clothes, and only a few extra dollars because he didn’t want to liquidate any of the family’s assets. (They decided to stay behind for a while.)

    After we arrived in New York, my parents went straight to Chicago, rented a small furnished apartment, and bought a week’s worth of groceries. My Dad had $5 in his pocket the following Monday when he went to look for a job.

    He came back home that night without a job, and now completely penniless because he was carrying a frilly little dress that he’d spotted in a store window for me to wear. Boy, was my mom miffed!!! Luckily, he found a job the next day.

    In his 30s, he became a diabetic and his health steadily went downhill from that point forward–though he never complained and always hid it from us. He slaved and scrimped his entire life to make sure my mom, my brother and I–and eventually my, son, lived comfortably.

    At big bashes during the holidays, Dad would always get up on stage, grab a mike, and wow the crowds with his impersonations of Elvis…Russian accent and all.

    About 15 years ago, he suffered a minor heart attack, and the doctors determined that born with a defective heart. Recent damage included, he was down to a quarter of a normally functioning heart–but everyone who knew him always said that he still had the biggest heart anyone could possibly have.

    Two years ago this coming August, he got on his bike, and escaped into the woods near my parents’ home for the last time. He was found not long after leaving the house near his bike in his favorite part of the wood, looking as if he’d laid down for a nap.

    I miss you terribly, Daddy! Happy Father’s Day!

  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 13, 08 @ 10:00 pm:

    I should add, too, that while my Dad and I had followed politics, passionately debated policy, and shamelessly spoke about our deep love for this Country for as long as I can remember, we never got around to becoming Citizens until a day less than 20 years ago when we decided to apply together.

    Standing in the huge swearing-in ceremony at Soldier Field, exhausted and dehydrated, but with tears of joy rolling down our cheeks, we both reaffirmed that our family’s history WAS an American Dream come true and that there is no greater Country in the world.

    Of all the wonderful moments we shared together, the only one that topped that day was when my son was born on–of all days–July 4th.

    From that point forward, my Dad found a perfect way to summarize our family history: the best that’s ever happened to us always began with Independence.

    “Vat a great Country!”, Papa! Thank you for bringing us here and making this our home!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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