Today is a very sad day for me; it is the anniversary of my dad's death. It's been 8 years now. Seems hard to believe.
I miss my dad very much. I called him 'Da'. My dad was known as 'Da' because that's what I called him, me and Liz both. He taught at the University of Toledo for a while there. He made some good friends there too. He taught remedial English at the now-defunct Community-Technical arm of U of T, more commonly known as "Comm-Tech". He becaume involved with the University's Catholic community; he became close friends with Fr. Bacik. I don't even know if Fr. Bacik is still there. My dad's memorial service was held at Corpus Christi's new digs across the street from the University. I think he has a brick with his name on it in the entry-way to the main entrance of the humble little church. That community was one of his passions.
Another one of his passions was amateur radio. He had the highest level of license you could attain: the Extra class license, for as long as I could remember. He never let that license expire. He kept up on the hobby daily. He loved it so much it surrounded his place at the kitchen table - much to my poor mother's chagrin. The nightly 'net rarely went by without his attendance. He would listen in as all the hams in the area would check in, then he checked himself in, and then he continued monitoring the frequency. He was always happy to answer another ham's CQ ("anybody listening?"). He loved it when his own CQ's were answered.
Then after the net he and my mom would retire to the living room for their weeknight routine: watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, followed by whatever programming could be found that appealed to them. They weren't ones to watch salacious, lewd television programs; they sought out something that appealed to their cerebral style, or a good murder mystery, or whatever tickled their funny bone. I will never forget witnessing my dad howling with laughter, tears rolling down his cheeks, while watching "Are You Being Served?" and "Mr. Bean" and "Keeping Up Appearances". Those were favorites in our household. My dad had a very loud laugh, an honest laugh. He would laugh long and hard if it really tickled him. Sometimes just watching him laugh at something was enough to get Liz and I going, even if we didn't understand what the heck it was.
Well, I'm running out of time to give my dear ol' Da a proper homage here. Not all my memories of him are good of course, but then I was a teenager for a few years there. The thing I remember the most about my dad, besides his honesty and his laugh, is his routine. The man was such a creature of his routine! You could literally set your clock to his daily activities. And that's just the way he liked it. Nothing set him off more than having his routine disrupted. I am not too different from him in that regard.
I miss Da so much. No, I don't believe he's "in heaven watching over us"; he is asleep, resting in peace. He should be resting in the knowledge that as far as dads go he was truly one of the greatest. I would give anything to have him around again ...