Meet my Dad.
I call him Daddio, because he is a jazz musician and because he is just plain hip. He was into yoga and Netflix and a million other things long before I was. In a lot of ways, you know my father simply by knowing me, a) because we’re really similar and b) he introduced me to a lot of the things I value most in the world. A few other gems from Dad:
Food: This is a man that puts food on a pedestal, and he raised me to do the same. We both love all things tomato based, but can’t really stomach raw tomatoes on their own, a rare food aversion! He makes a mean bolognese sauce but my favorite food memories are from childhood. Once when he was watching my brother and I for the day he made us some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They were so salty they were inedible and he finally figured out that he had used miso paste instead of the all-natural peanut butter that comprised 89% of my diet as a tot. It just might be the reason I have such a sodium habit now!
When you ask him for “just a little” ice cream, cereal, whatever, he will give you a very literal, very microscopic smidgen. The joke never gets old. The best was when he bought a set of those little glass measuring bowls that are used during cooking shows. The miniature serving size joke reached new heights that day.
The very best move dad has in the kitchen is a dish I still make when I’m feeling down or sick. It’s just pastina or spagetti with a little butter or olive oil (I like a mix of both), Parmesan cheese and garlic, your basic aioli but also magic in a bowl.
Reason: In every trial I’ve been through my dad has remained calmed and reminded me to do the same. He reminds me that worrying does nothing to solve a problem, that it is a wasted of energy. I think a lot of his material must come from this one book he recommends over and over, Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer. Long before Oprah and Dr. Phil and the Secret and all that, my dad was telling me that I was in charge of my life.
Laughter: One of his favorite comedies is Dodgeball, which might be a low point for him. He also made me watch all of Woody Allen’s classics and once when he was driving me back to Amherst after a winter break, “The Jerk” was on TV and we postponed the drive to watch it. We both tend to cry when we laugh really hard, and I can remember at least a few holiday meals that ended this way.
Appreciation for other cultures: When we lived overseas, we almost never lived on military bases. Instead, we lived in tiny towns in Germany, once above a bakery that has ruined me for life with cravings for Germany candy and bread. We traveled as much as possible, driving through Switzerland one summer to get to Italy. I cried in Italy, thinking that I wouldn’t remember every last detail because I was only 12 or 13, but I do. Besides the gorgeous art, architecture and food, the trip seemed enchanted. In Lucca, a small dog followed us through the entire town. While out for gelato we stumbled upon a concert that was taking place in a small village, folding chairs on cobblestone, a spotlight and Andrea Bocelli. Who, coincidentally has a birthday on September 22, my father’s is the 21st and mine is the 20th. Maybe I should try to plan a reunion birthday party!
Purpose: He is making a transition from a career in the military to one in the medical field–I think it’s so cool that he’s going from the most insanely regimented uniform in the world to one of the comfiest and loosest. He was really excited to buy his first set of scrubs and I don’t blame him.
When he retired from the military a couple of years ago, I found myself strangely moved by the whole thing. I realized it was because my father had done what so few people do–he had a dream and he made it happen, in a really methodical way. He was a musician and he found a way to make a living doing that. As I’m trying to figure the whole creative career thing out, I’m inspired by his success doing what he loves.
I admire him for so many reasons and feel very blessed in the whole dad department.
CR, aka Boo Boo