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Showing posts with label tadpole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tadpole. Show all posts

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day Wherever You Are

Theodore Paull
On Father's Day I'm reminded of my dad and our thirty-one years together. I used to complain about how unfair it was to have had so little time with him, but after chatting with various people about their childhoods, I stopped. I'd rather have had thirty-one years with mine than sixty-two with yours. Hopefully your dad was great too, but I've heard multiple stories about abusive fathers. This is not one of them!

Although he never hit me, he could snap me into line with a look  for it was critical not to disappoint him. Unlike most children today, I had fear mixed with respect when it came to my father. When I became a parent, he told me, "Don't ever hit your children, but don't ever let them think you won't." Yep. He had me fooled.

Dad had a funny side too. Having grown up during the depression era, no one spent money on luxuries such as getting one's teeth straightened; so, Dad enjoyed making us laugh by squinting his eyes and showing his skinny little teeth with spaces between each one. Still, I couldn't wait for my handsome daddy to come home each night. My siblings and I listened for the groan of the garage door followed by a steady bump, bump, bump up the staircase. We'd charge out of bed to hug Dad who would remove his sports coat and replace it with his worn, blue terrycloth robe. I loved when Dad put me in bed because he'd tuck me in with a series of geeks, ya it was goofy but so was Dad at times. Although my kids' memories of my father are sketchy or absent, they know what geeking is all about.

He hated this picture but I love it!
Dad loved to tell pop corn, such as how his classmates nicknamed him Tadpole. A teacher with a thick German accent called attendance: Ted Paull came out sounding like tadpole, and the name stuck. Dad had his own nickname for me BooBoo, and my sibs had their fun with theories of where that name came from.

A cornier pop corn came from Dad's boyhood walk to school down Flora Place. Every morning the neighbors would lean out their windows and sing, "Theodora don't spit on the flora." Fertilize the lawn with that story, which always sounded best coming from Dad.

When an earthquake shook our house, Dad hollered, "Florence [my mother]! Quit jumping around up there!" But don't think he didn't care deeply for her. He showed his love and devotion through constant care for Mom when she became ill. He quit working and socializing to be by her bedside while she lay unconscious in an Iowa hospital. Refusing to leave her side, his stress became evident when he lost control of his Diabetes. Mom's health improved while Dad died of "total system failure" in 1993.

I miss my daddy on Father's Day and every day, but I have been blessed to have married a kind man who is much like my dad.