Although my sons are not yet fathers, a couple of their friends started their families within the last year. Both have new baby girls, and since I had the best father ever, I feel uniquely qualified to share some thoughts about what made him such a great dad.

 My dad was larger than life. In my eyes there was nothing he couldn’t do and my sisters and I always felt protected. He was not as physically affectionate as some fathers are, and wasn’t constantly kissing and hugging on us (that was Mom’s job), but we knew without a doubt that he loved us.

 My father was always right. He never lied to us and we knew he would be there for us no matter what kind of trouble we got into. I can’t say he was happy about some of the things we pulled, but he didn’t abandon us or let us fend for ourselves in difficult situations.

 My dad provided well for our family. My mother never had to work outside the home. I did not know until I was a young adult how financially strapped my parents were for several years. They never let on and we never went without. When necessary, my dad would work extra jobs to pay the bills and when their financial situation did start and continue to improve, they were able to retire comfortably, first to Florida and then to Arizona.

 I remember my dad being a big old softy. When I got into trouble for something (which was kind of often), my mom’s favorite punishment was to withhold permission to do something that I was really looking forward to with my friends. When she said “no,” one quick phone call to sweet talk my dad at work and he overruled her. They argued about it later and I felt sort of bad, but they always made up so it was okay.

 Which leads me to another wonderful thing about my dad. He treated my mom like a queen. They had a date night every weekend. Dad would dress up in a beautiful suit and tie and Mom would wear a lovely cocktail dress, and off they went out for an evening of dinner and dancing.

 My parents are both gone now. Mom died in April of 2008 and Dad in January of 2010. I’m very grateful that I can still recall their voices and the sound of their laughter.

 And I remember some simple things, like how I loved the smell of my dad’s Old Spice cologne. I even loved the faint odor of tobacco when he walked by.

 Cherish your parents while they are still with you. Happy Father’s Day!

Opinions offered in Just Sayin’ are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email Vera at vhogan@tctimes.com.

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