Papo used to prompt us with the words “My dad…” and my siblings and I would then extoll his various virtues. I even wrote a poem based on this concept back in Mrs. Davis’ sixth grade English class. It had something to do with him always making fajitas and homemade pizza.
I’d like to do it here, in honor of Father’s Day, and his birthday. He always gets screwed on the holiday front as we inevitably combine the two celebrations together, and if there were ever a father for whom Father’s Day had been created for, it would be him. Here is my stream of consciousness celebration of Papo.
… gave me dimples and curly hair
… read to me from D’aulaires Greek Myths
… sang civil rights anthems as bedtime lullabies
… has read more books than anyone I know
… has a bedroom in his house called the “St. Joan of Arc” room
… has had a mustache since his 20s; I have never seen him without it
… drove a VW Vanagon
… listens to reggae through his cable provider’s music channel
… is nicknamed both the Red Roofer and the Sissy Roofer
… almost always has tar on his elbows
… only shops for clothes at Value Village
… got my eyebrow pierced for my 16th birthday
… thinks I’m hilarious
… tells me that I am perfect, previously prodigal
… advises me to step back and watch my life as if it were a drama
… made my sister memorize poems by Rumi when she acted up; this was better than grounding her
… gives me worms as gifts, along with compost and coir
… raised three of his children, for many years, as a single parent
… knew I would marry my husband the day they met (which was our first date, P.S.)
… does not believe in invidious status comparisons; I knew this before I knew what invidious meant
… believes that my jump shot will always go in the basket
… held my hand when I was sick, hurt, sad, manic, hungover, kicking, screaming, angry at the world
… trusts in what he has taught me
God-willing, I can continue my celebration of Papo for the next thirty-five years. He has already planned his 100th birthday party. I can’t wait to attend.
Happy Birthday Dad! Happy Papo Day, too!