Un, deux, trois...

Tomorrow is Father's Day.  Which, when you aren't a father, your spouse isn't a father and both your fathers are dead... well, we don't really have plans.

Me and Dad, circa 1978?  Seersucker and a cigarette.

I was trying to think of a story I could tell about Dad, and the one I came up with was this.

When I was in 4th grade, my parents had me tested for Attention Deficit Disorder.  It was the 80s, and that was the scapegoat diagnosis for everything.  Although I was ultimately diagnosed with ADD, the truth is, my best (only) friend had moved to Mississippi and I was depressed - but back then, they didn't really know what to do with a depressed ten year old.  They put her on Ritalin. That, plus making a few new friends pretty well fixed it.

That's not really the point, though.

The point is that the shrink ran me through a bunch of tests, and one of them was to draw a picture of a family member.  I drew my father.  She asked me what he was doing in the picture, and I said, "He's asking me what we're going to cook today."

Dad did most of the cooking in our house.  I'm sure I've told you that before.  I watched.  I basically just liked hanging out with Dad.  And I liked food.

He would do smothered hamburger steaks sometimes. Rice was the standard carb in our house.  Rarely potatoes.  When I was sick, he would make me matzo ball soup.  He did birthday cakes for us - chocolate pound cake with a chocolate buttercream icing.   Once, for my birthday, he made me a pasta dish with a Gorgonzola cream sauce and toasted walnuts - based on a meal we'd had together in Paris.

Funny story about that night in Paris, actually. He, mom and I were walking, and it was raining out, and we kind of got turned around.  He went into a bar to get directions.  When he came out, he remarked on how friendly everyone had been to him.  It was a gay bar, if the rainbow flag out front means the same thing in France.  Dad was not homophobic. He would have been appalled about Orlando.

Once, for Mom's birthday, we attempted to make her a caramel cake - it was raining that day, too - and we were making the icing, which is burnt sugar and very, very picky.  The humidity worked against us and we ended up screwing up several batches of icing,

Another time, I would have been in my 20s, he, Mom and I at Christmas time were making peanut butter fudge, and again, it was raining, and a batch failed.  I offered to take the aluminum pan filled with the unset goo out to the trash can outside, and I remember standing in the cold rain eating some of the warm peanut butter/sugar sludge before going inside.

At least once, I remember Dad picking me up from school, handing me a Mounds bar and telling me I looked like I needed some Vitamin M.  Occasionally, if we were out early running errands, we'd get a snack cake and a soft drink.  "Breakfast of Champions", he'd say.

So, is it any wonder that in missing my Dad, I turn to food?  Dad was food, and Dad was comfort, and in absence of Dad... there is food.  And a modicum of comfort.

I'm not sure what the shrink gleaned from my drawing of Dad.  But I suspect in some file somewhere, there's a note that reads:

"Probably not ADD. Seems depressed.  Give her Ritalin anyway.  Also, probably going to have an eating disorder.  Daddy issues."

Happy Father's Day.



I only discovered a few years ago that the rainbow is a property of those who walk the lavender path now. My first internet username was rainbow_rising (based on a poem I'd written once, Rising Rainbow) and I'd no clue that I was probably signalling a wholly erroneous idea of my sexuality.
I love that you have so many wonderful stories about your dad. This day is tough for you, I'm sure. Hugs.