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It’s quiet in my house today, because the kids are with their Dad, at his house. I sent a text wishing a Happy Father’s Day and promptly asked how the little one was doing because he was diagnosed with strep throat yesterday. “Thanks and all good”, was the reply. I’m grateful that even though we are divorced, my children have a Dad who is involved and present and affectionate, and firm with just the right amount of scary. Then I started thinking about my father, who I didn’t see after the age of 11 and he died when I was 13. I miss him, I guess, but I don’t really remember much. I was young, my folks were divorced, and I didn’t spend that much time with him overall. I think I miss the idea of him. Sad. I like to think I inherited his sense of humor and his ability to tell a joke, and he could always captivate with his story-telling abilities. Maybe I got some of that too, but clearly I didn’t inherit any humility. (See? A joke!) I have one wallet-sized photo of my Dad, that’s it. It sits on a shelf next to an ashtray from a family restaurant that bore my last name (a recent gift from a friend, found at a flea market!)

Memories on a mantel.

Memories on a mantel.

It’s interesting because there are people around who still remember my Dad’s restaurant. A dear friend and I have retold the story several times, of the moment her mom realized that my Dad, was Dan Stampler, from The Steak Joint. She held herself and started to tear up at remembering how her late brother loved the restaurant and went for dinner almost weekly. My friend’s mom later introduced me to another couple, well in to their 70’s, who shared with me that their first date was at my father’s place. “How lovely,” I told them, fighting the melancholy at not having known my Dad when he was in his prime. I’m grateful that even though I have limited memories of my father, that there are many whose memories are punctuated by his presence. Oh, and I do love a good steak!

I’m also grateful that for the last 20 years, my stepdad acted much like a father to me. I used to tell him that he yelled at me just like a father would, he would smile, and then yell “No!”  He’s gone now too, and that makes me sad, but thankful for the many memories I have, and that every day his contributions to society punctuate someone else’s memories. And then of course, there’s my mom, who had to be father and mother for most of my childhood. I am grateful for that and her, as well. So I sit in my quiet house, grateful, a bit melancholy, but still able to giggle as I remember a joke my dad used to tell about a “Foo-Foo bird worth a miiiillllion dollars!” If you’re lucky, I’ll tell it to you one day.

So, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there, and the Moms who act like father’s sometimes, too!

Stay well.

Didn’t get Dad a gift yet? You can always get him a Totem!! Click on any of the four Totems to your left and order one today!