The memories of dear old Dad seem so far away. I remember most, the rides on his shoulder as he hoisted me around our cherry tree. Picking those cherries is a memory that I hold dear. I remember the warm sun on my face and squinting skyward to see the cherries high in the branches. I would pick and eat cherries until my hands were dyed pink.
He was a big, burly guy who was 100% military trained. From his pressed creases in his pants to the tip of his hat, he stood like a soldier, even at home. We had a strict routine around our house during dinner time. No one came to the dinner table without a bath and fresh, clean clothes. Dessert was always served on the TV trays while we watched Ed Sullivan shows.
I still remember those nights eating jell-o, chocolate pudding or ice-cream. My mom and dad would sometimes turn on the stereo (Dad was an early audiophile) and dance together while we kids jumped up and down laughing and clapping at the adult antics. Such fond silly memories...
Dad died a few years ago, leaving me and the rest of the family to contemplate life without him. With Father's Day coming, the little tug at my heart is a constant reminder of how much I miss him. Even though he is gone, I still celebrate Dad's Day by making my family a great dinner and toasting his memories with a glass of wine.
This year, the kids and teens are gathering for a group rafting trip on Sunday to celebrate their own father in the outdoors. Most of my friend's still have their dad's in their lives, but as for me, he is still with me every time I eat a handful of cherries.