All Hail the King

My dad was born in Kitchener, Ontario on Friday, December 13, 1935.  He grew up in Kitchener and Hamilton.. the son of Lithuanian immigrants. “Johnny” as he was called by his family.. was a smart guy, good student and according to his sisters, popular with the girls.. ;-).

Johnny went to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute to become an electrician and went to work for Stelco for a bit, then Dofasco for over 30 years.  In the early ’60’s he went on vacation to the Muskokas and met the woman who would become my mother.. Sheila… on the Moon River.  After a bit of a long distance courtship (they lived 5 hours away from one another).. they got married  June 22, 1963. (Yikes! Now I have to write an anniversary post tomorrow!)

On April 6, 1964 (yes, I’m 45, what’s it to ya?)  he realized his true destiny… he became my father.  Okay, a little overly dramatic there.. My father wound up being dad to three girls.. me, Barb and Lara.  My mom asked if he wanted to try for a boy, but he was fine with his girls.DSC01997-2

When I was a kid I wanted to be just like my dad.  My dad always wore short sleeved dress shirts with a breast pocket every day to work.  I wanted to be the same so I’d wear a pajama top that happened to  look  just like his dress shirt.   I learned to splice wires and at one point thought I’d like to be an electrician .. just like daddy.  I also remember trying to out-eat him at dinner.. yeah, not such a good idea looking back (and seeing my overabundant backside…)

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on the couch with my sister and my dad and he would read us stories. I remember him coming home from work when I was about 3 because I cracked my head open and he had to take me to the hospital.   I also remember that we had to have the couch recovered after I bled all over it.  On many occasions I was  told “wait till your father gets home”…. and I was scared.  My parents never spanked me (although that was accepted in that day and age..) Just the stern “talking to” that I would get was enough to put fear into me.

When I was growing up, my dad was a man of few words.  I can remember my friends commenting that the only words they ever heard him say was during football games.. “off side”… “flag down”.  He’s generally been the kind of man who keeps to himself.  He wasn’t one to “go out with the boys”.. his life revolved around his work, and his family and his home. 

In my family, my sisters and I have been known to call my dad “The King”. 

When we were growing up, we always.. ALWAYS.. ate promptly at 5pm.  Dad got home about 4.30pm. We ate at 5pm SHARP.   And when the King wanted to eat, he wanted to eat.  Years later we’d have family functions where, with our ever expanding family, we wouldn’t have dinner quite at 5pm… but as soon as the food would be on the table, there’d be dad sitting at the head of the table, half done his meal even though none of us had even sat down yet.

My dad has an affection for sweets.  My grandparents owned a bakery before he was born and my grandmother was an excellent baker, providing my father with sugary goodness daily.  My mother is also an excellent baker and would make dessert EVERY DAY. Pie to be exact.  My father ate dessert with every meal.  I can remember my mom baking at 9pm so that my dad would have “breakfast pie”.  No, I’m not kidding.  Pie with breakfast, pie with lunch… pie with dinner.  Some days my dad would BUY dessert if my mom wasn’t up to baking… Princess Tarts or Eccles cakes from Food City. 

I look a lot like my dad. In fact, it’s why I can never have short hair.. too many people will call me “John”.  It’s just one of the things I’ve gotten from him.. the Lithuanian facial features, the prominent proboscis…  However, that’s okay because my dad was the dad that all my friends thought was the best looking of all the fathers.  He was, and is, a handsome man.

My dad is super organized.  He has the finest work ethic of anyone I know.  He is the ultimate home handyman.  My dad is the kind of guy who can pretty much fix anything.  He’s the guy who always made himself available to help the neighbours, whether it be getting raccoons out of their chimney or shovelling their driveway or helping with a plumbing issue.  Dad was meticulous about mowing the lawn .. first horizontal, then vertical.  He’s also very quick witted and funny… Dad has always been very good with money…Ok, so I inherited the home handyman tendencies and the funny… the money thing… not so much…

When I was young, we had cats for a while.  When he thought no one was looking my dad would pet and talk to the cat.. but if you happened to walk into the room he’d shoo “the darned cat” away.  Underneath it all my dad is a big mushball.  And the mushiness has become much more evident since the birth of his grandchildren.  I love watching him interact with all the kids.  

My father has never been one to be overly emotionally demonstrative…it’s just not his way.  I think it embarasses him a little to tell the truth.  Even more than his children do. (Okay, maybe it’s just me who does that… ) But I know how much he loves me and my sisters.. and our whole family.  I can see it in the way he looks at his wife, his grandchildren, his daughters.. his family… and you can hear it in his voice when he talks about them.  Mind you, he’s often teasing (THAT’S where I get that from!) but you can tell it’s with love.

I, on the other hand, am one for public displays of affection….  My dad is one of the best people I know. I’m proud to be his daughter. And I love him very much.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  All hail the King!

Life: Moving on.. literally and figuratively
Love: I love my Dad.
Pants: I have been much better lately with the working out.. soldiering onward…

2 responses to “All Hail the King

  1. What a fine tribute to your daddy! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great writing. My dad had those shirts too! But my fascination about him was where was he going everyday, why, what did he have a stop watch for? I wanted to understand those charts on the papers he brougt home for us to draw on. Like his father before, he worked 30 years for AmCan castings in Hamilton. I wanted to be like him. This brought me to become a Industrial Engineer.

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