Monday, September 19, 2011


I've been talking to Julie some about how difficult it is to let yourself grieve for someone with whom you had a complicated relationship.  (For those of you who haven't been around very long, my amazing, difficult, complicated father passed away in June.)  Like all complicated things, it's easier for me to just push it away than to let myself think about it.  So, this post is part of an attempt to correct that.  There may be a few more forthcoming.

What I inherited from my father:
  • if you put me down in a new town and leave me there for more than 48 hours, I will have figured out the main roads and many of the back roads.  Give me a week and I'll know the scenic routes, the fastest routes, and their alternates should traffic or boredom be a problem.  I can have endless conversations over maps about how to get from here to there.
  • a sometimes spasmodic, sometimes consistent, sometimes inconvenient spirit of generosity and a neurotic desire to help
  • blue eyes
  • a love of travel:  to the next town, the next county, the next state, or overseas.  Trips by plane, train, subway, boat, and above all: road trips.  Although planes and boats require dramamine for me, which dad didn't need.
  • an endless fascination with questions for which there are no answers:  why are we here?  what happens after we die? what/who is God?  what does it mean to be a moral person?  Dad's interest took a more orthodox route within the confines of his German baptist heritage while mine has moved far beyond the beliefs I was raised with-- but I still blame it on him because of his...
  • boundless curiosity about how people work and how the world works
  • if you find us at the lake, the car keys will be on the right front tire.  Just so you know.  Sometimes the left if the right seems a bit too exposed.
  • his fanatic interest in cars and all sports (especially baseball) is muted in me into a more general interest that is still well above average compared to most women.  However, I did not inherit his fascination with tractors.  One of the more miserable memories of my childhood is being dragged (wink, wink) to tractor pulls.  At one point, he owned 4 tractors.  Or maybe it was 5.  And this is when we lived in a normal house in normal neighborhood (albeit with a big back yard).
  • above average academic ability balanced with below average emotional intelligence and social skills
  •  a love of pie
  • a tendency toward irrational fears that don't respond well to reason, and yet a love of reason that makes it difficult to acknowledge that those fears even exist
  • a tendency to take what's going on inside my head more seriously than what's going on in the "real" world
  • a firm and abiding belief in prayer.  I've told you before I don't understand how it works, but I believe in it.  One of my dad's favorite ways to trip you up was to ask, when you had come to him with some seemingly insurmountable problem, "Have you prayed about it?"  And of course you hadn't, because if you had, it wouldn't feel so insurmountable.
  • we are night owls, creatures of the night.  People talk about how fresh and new things are in the morning, and it's like they're speaking Martian.  I don't think I've ever in my 50 years felt fresh and new in the morning.  It takes about an hour after I wake up before I can even be civil, and that's if I've had a good night's sleep. 
  • and we've got the insomnia that goes with that.  dangit.
  • road trips.  Have I mentioned road trips?
I had dh read over this to see if he could think of anything else, and he said, "Well, both of you married well."  :-)


  1. Perfect. Healing. Beautiful. And the ending was icing on the cake. (Or, in your case, a second serving of pie.)

  2. Now that is an interesting list. And having known your father practically all of my life I can see each and every one of them. Now I am going to have to think about what I have "inherited" from the parental units. Probably a better subject that what I was going to write about today, the disappointment one feels when an adult friend lets you down.