Here’s to You, Dad

My hero and me celebrating his 80th birthday

When I was a young girl, about 7, my dad took me to lunch at Carl’s Chop House, the venerable (and now closed) steakhouse on Grand River in Detroit. I remember being extremely excited about my new shoes: denim platform sandals emblazoned with bright red cherries. But I recall being even more thrilled about getting to go on a “date” with my dad.

I worshipped my father, as most little girls do. He was my hero: a handsome, jovial Detroit police officer and World War II veteran, who was loved and revered by most everyone he met. I didn’t get a lot of one-on-one time with him (let’s face it, fatherhood was a whole lot different in the ’70s), so I cherished any opportunity to have his undivided attention.

Although that lunch date is one of my fondest childhood memories, what I can actually recall about it is fleeting. I was wearing my new sandals, of course. I remember watching my dad drink a Manhattan and waiting for him to give me the cherries, as always. I also recall eating what seemed like the biggest shrimp cocktail ever, and watching my dad shake his head when I poured Heinz ketchup all over what was surely an expensive steak.

I don’t remember a thing either of us said, but I do remember how I felt: special, lucky, loved. Over the years our relationship ebbed and flowed as is typical of most parent-child connections. I went from adoring and idolizing him to disliking and rebelling against him as a teenager to respecting and understanding him as an adult.

Tomorrow, May 19, would have been my dad’s 87th birthday, and the next day marks the sixth anniversary of his death. Lots of memories of him have been swirling around in my head for the past few days, but that lunch date is definitely one of the best.

Here’s to you, Dad. If I drank Manhattans, I would certainly pour one in your honor.

5 thoughts on “Here’s to You, Dad

  1. Cheers to you and your dad. Thank you for sharing this & all the other wonderful memories you have of your father. The father – daughter bond is a very special one.

  2. Yes, Cuz! I am thinking of him today. He is celebrating today with his Best Gal and they are having Manhattens and Scotch on the Rocks (with a glass of water).Happy Birthday Uncle Bill.

  3. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years. He will always be my favorite Uncle…I called him when I got engaged. I always thought he was the most handsome and dashing man- with his stilly stories and pocket full of corny jokes. What a cast of characters, that set.

  4. Awww! I didn’t know that you called him when you got engaged. Love it! He was such a romantic. I bet he was tickled that you called him.

    Sometimes I wish I could have been around when they were young…like during the Saddle Ridge days. What great stories! And how about when your grandfather managed the Michigan Theater (I think that’s the right one)…and met Rock Hudson? We sure do have some cool predecessors!

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