I called my dad today to wish him a Happy Father's Day. Now, I've written about my dad before on this blog -- some of it positive, some of it negative -- and all of it the truth. I usually don't have everyday-type of chit-chats with my dad, and I usually only see him occasionally, when I end up at my parents house for some random reason, or when I go "up north" (a favorite summer pastime of Michiganders...if you're not familiar, it basically means heading somewhere north of where you live, and usually means a "cottage" on one of the Great Lakes) to my parents cottage.
When I called today, I felt a little like chatting. Over Memorial Day weekend, when Daughter and I went up north and spent an overnight, my dad and I were outside talking. He's a smoker and is not allowed to smoke in the house. While we were outside gossiping about the latest stupid thing my brother has done, my dad sneeks in a "I'm glad you're here, Dog" to me. We call each other "Dog" in kind of a Randy-Jackson-American-Idol way, but I gave him that nickname when I was a senior in high school 20 years ago...so i can't be accused of stealing it from Mr. Jackson. Anyway, I was really touched when my dad said it. I mean, I know he loves me but we're not close like we used to be. And despite anything he's done in the past, he's still my dad.
Today, I wanted to chat a little because yesterday, I went to the VFW hall that my grandpa belonged to (and where I spent a lot of time when I was a kid). My dad is a Vietnam veteran, and husband had asked yesterday what VFW that my dad belonged to -- I didn't know. I also found out yesterday that I could join the VFW that my grandpa was a member of -- I didn't know this either, and frankly, while I'm not all that into doing a bunch of activities at the VFW, it is one organization I would give gobs and gobs of money to if I could. So joining it and paying the membership dues is nothing I have a problem with, and I also would do it as a sort of tribute to my grandpa. While we were at the VFW, Husband also asked about the 21-gun salute my grandpa had at his graveside. Who performs this service? Again, I had no idea.
I figured my dad would know about this. During our conversation, I found out he was a member of a VFW post in Toledo, OH -- the same one his dad was a member of. His father was a POW during WWII, captured by the Germans and spent 2 years in a prison camp. His dad passed away probably around 18 years ago, in some military hospital. His dad was sort of insane (literally) and I was exposed to his nutty behavior when I was around 13 years old, when his dad came to live with us for a little while. I mean, he never did anything too weird (like in some creepy child predator sort of way), but he would just say off-the-wall shit sometimes, and once he was in the middle of our street in his pajamas with his arms spread like Jesus on the cross, shouting some crazy shit or something (this I did not actually see with my own eyes, only heard about when my mom was all "you need to get your crazy father out of our house before he does something really crazy".
I also found out that you just call you local VFW or American Legion and tell them you want a 21-gun salute at a veteran's funeral, and they send 7-10 guys and there you go. I didn't realize it was so easy -- I thought it was some super-secret government thing. Apparently not. My dad says something about having a 21-gun salute at his funeral, and I tell him that I'll make sure there is one because I have a feeling my mom isn't going to go that extra mile when he croaks. I know it sounds fucked up -- but just being honest, here.
So after chatting a bit, I wished my dad a Happy Father's Day and we told each other we loved each other. It was nice.
I'd also like to wish my grandpa a Happy Father's Day...even though he's been long gone. He's always in my thoughts and was the first father I ever knew. He was a dad to me because my biological father was a shithead and never stepped up to the plate. He was a dad to me before my current dad adopted me when he married my mom. He was the dad who bought me my first bicycle and taught me how to ride it. And he was the best dad ever.
I'd also like to wish a Happy Father's Day to Husband, being the father of my awesome kid. Without him, I would not have the person in this world I love the most.
Here's to hoping all of the fathers out there had a good day too. And may all the girls out there who need a father in their life, find one. Whether it be your grandpa, your mom's new husband, or another man in your life.