a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Happy Mom's Day--Dad!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mom's Day--Dad!

SUMMARY: An appreciation.
Last year on Mom's Day, I talked about my mom. This year, my dad broke his hip, had a little surgery on it, spent some time in rehab, and came home Friday feeling just fine and aching to be completely mobile again. For moving from place to place, he's restricted to a wheelchair for another few weeks. I'm so glad he's doing well, and so understanding of his chafing at the bit (having been limited, myself, on a couple of occasions), that I didn't want to wait for Fathers Day to say, "Thanks for being my dad!"

He has always been active. Long before I met him, he worked as a camp counselor at a camp for underprivileged New York City kids. He was always out in the woods or climbing a mountain somewhere. Weather didn't matter. (He wasn't wimpy like his daughter.)

He studied forestry for a bit at Michigan, and joined the Outing Club at Syracuse U while he was there. ("Outing" not having the connotation that it sometimes does now.)

He went off to Korea, where he really got to experience some out-of-doorsness, and came back with his hearing a bit impaired, although it didn't get really bad until much later.

Then he got married and did me a big favor: Became my dad!
(Note that even their apartment was decorated like they were on a camping trip.)
As we grew up, he and my mom never lost their interest in being out of doors and sharing new adventures with us. (Sometimes my dad's idea of an adventure was a little scary to mom, I get the impression, but he was fearless except when it came to his kids.)

He moved us all across the country from NY to California, so of course we had to experiment with gold panning. He even found some!

Last year, he and I hiked up the hill at Fremont Older together. I hope the hip and legs recover enough that we can do stuff like that again.
My dad was always the one with the camera in the family. We had slide shows after every trip we ever took (and we took a lot of them). People joke about slide shows, but I loved them! He used to black out the window of the apartment's bathroom and develop his own black and white photos.  After he got a video camera, it was always a lot of videos.

 My dad had a great imagination. He made up stories for us and read to us, too. He read The Hobbit to my sisters, for example. He joined my science fiction writers group for a while, and often had something to contribute.
My dad  is very smart. He earned his masters degree in Difficult Math And Physics Subjects (I might not have the title exactly right). He sometimes regrets not going back for his PhD. I did not inherit his love of getting degrees, although I did end up with one in Math/Computer Science. He became a programmer way back before most people had even heard of computer programming and was a key software guy on the IBM 360 project. Then some guy named Amdahl took my dad along when he started his own company. Dad decided that he couldn't stay there once they started laying people off and being late on paychecks, even though they offered him a lot of stock, with which he couldn't pay the mortgage. Another guy who worked with my dad, named Ellison, got laid off somewhere in there and vowed he'd never get laid off again. My dad was busy with his family and didn't have time to build his own empire. We're cool with all that. I'm glad we didn't have to go live out of a car for a couple of years while my dad disappeared to work on start-ups with no money.

He's never shy about hamming it up for the camera, or at least for my camera. He claims it's revenge for me hamming it up when I was a kid and he was trying to take nice photos. Except that I eventually outgrew that. Dad. (It is actually fun to have the photos, but sometimes--)

Dad always had an affinity for animals.


Thanks for an interesting and funny life, dad!


  1. Your dad is the most awesome-ist dad! here's to his recovery and another hike in at Fremont Older!

    Oh, and please tell your Mom, "Happy Mother's Day" from me.

  2. What a great post! I really enjoyed getting to know your dad a little and I hope he's out of that chair really soon.

  3. what a lovely tribute to your dad...

  4. Beautiful! Brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my lips.

  5. tears in my eyes too..what great photos! And more importantly what great memories...and what a great Dad! Loved getting to know him better. Happy Mother's Day to both your parents! Thanks so much for sharing these.

  6. Your dad sounds (and looks) like a really neat, fun person. Thanks for sharing, and I hope he is out of that chair soon! (By any chance, did he work with any occupational therapists while he was in rehab?)

  7. Yes, physical and occupational therapists daily, although I can't tell the difference from the description--they both had him doing exercises, just different types.