Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day 2007 - It's Not The Same Without Dad!

Today is Father's Day. A day that we honor our Fahter's for their time, energy and bringing us up right. But this Father's Day will be a bit different for me. It's the first Father's Day that my Dad wont be with us. It's kind of wierd becsuse we always had a good laugh on this holiday. Just calling him on the phone made him happiest of all. It was more like talking to a friend than a Father and I'll surely miss that but I know my Dad's in a better place than he would have been if he still had to suffer from his illness.

I have so many cool memories of my Dad. I remember how every Saturday we'd got to get the papers, some groceries and other stuff we just had to do. Then Dad and I would get "diverted" for lunch, usually either to McDonald's or Friendly's but sometimes to the Sawyer Family favorites like Ted's Fish Fry, Jack's Hamburgers or Charlie's Hot Dogs. Mom usually anticipated this so she pretty much took care of herself on Saturdays for lunch. Dad really enjoyed that time I think. Heck, we did it right up until he got sick and even when he was sick he'd still talk about having a fish fry or a hot dog. It was our time together and even though we probably never said it, we both loved and cherished that opportunity. To this day, we still go to the hot spots in honor of Dad. And then there was one more.

Another thing Dad loved was being with his three boys. In the later years, after we all moved from the tiuny hamlet of West Sand Lake, we got together when we could. And we all had a great time, every time. Most of the times, we all converged in Florida to spend the Holidays together. One thing the four of us always did, with no women involved, was our trek to Hooters for chicken wings and Killian's Red. Dad loved it. It was his chance to bond with his sons. He'd eat winds and get covered in sauce. It was fun. Even Mom knew that this was his time to be with boys and she never, ever got in the way of it. Sure, she'd bust on us for the idea that we were going to Hooters to "check out the women" but it was never really that. It was our time with our Dad. The three of us boys went to the same Hooter's this past May and we left a stool open and toasted him in honor. It was a great time and even the waitress understood what this was all about. In fact, the picture to the right is us on that day, with the waitress, who was "filling in" for Dad since he wasn't here for this one. She said they'd even put this picture on the wall in honor of him. Dad may of thought we were crazy for doing it but he would have loved it.

In his latter years, Dad was active with his Navy reunion group. He was porud of his time in the Navy. He was a true soldier and remained faithful to the Red, White and Blue. He flew the flag at every opportunity he could. He'd remind us to do the same. Mom still puts it out there for him when she remembers. The Navy was something that mean alot to him. He talked about his time with Admiral Byrd and Operation High Jump in Antartica. We heard the stories over and over again. But he loved to tell them and nobody would dare stop him. The symbol for the operation was a penguin and everybody who knew him probably gave him one. He had stuffed ones, plastic ones, stickers, postcards, greeting cards, etc. If it had a penguin on it, Dad had it. Even in his casket, Dad had a penguin standing guard. He was proud of his service, loved to see his post in the Navy Log on the internet, and we were proud to honor him for it. Hell, I wouldn't want to serve in the military the way it is today. But back then it was different.

I have so many good memories of my Dad...and my Mom too. They stuck together through thick and thin. They were married for 50+ years. They lived a pretty simple life and provided for us kids the best they could. They usually though of us before they thought of themselves. Dad would make sure we always had the Converse All-Stars for gym class while he wore tennis shoes that looked as if he'd got them at the turn of the century. He loved his sports and he loved doing them with us. I never really dug the sports, basketball and golf. But when I got to do them with Dad, it was fun and different. He had a patience and spirit that was second to none. He wasn't the hot dog...he made sure we had the ball when we needed it and enjoyed watching us get the glory. when my brother's were playing any sport, Dad was there. Either on the field or in the stands. He was a great coach and did that for many years at Averill Park.

There is so much to say about my Father. He took pride in being able to tell the same joke over and over and over and over again. I always remember hearing, "Did I tell you about the..." That was it. Here it comes. Some joke we probably heard 200 times before...but he loved to tell it! That was one thing about my Dad. He loved to laugh. He had some strong opinions about politics and we'd get into some pretty heavy "discussions" about them. He loved it when I worked on the Dennis Miller show. He loved the topical hotbed. In fact, we'd always end it with "that's just your could be wrong." That's where my blogs slogan came from. But no matter what, we never got mad at each other. I can't remember a time that we ever held a grudge against each other. I don't think Dad would ever allow that to happen. He had a spirit that I just can't describe. He was more than a Dad to me. He was a good friend and pal. So on this day that we honor our Father's, I honor my Dad...Daniel J. Sawyer.

I just wish I could call you Dad. I miss you a lot. Happy Father's Day Pop!