Sunday, June 20, 2010

For Honey and Me: Our Dads


Happy Fathers Day.

Honey and I celebrated it alone. We had three kids once, but we did our jobs so well, they're off across the country independent, self sufficient, contributing members of society, concerned citizens,loving family men, living their own lives; we were successful parents. We went to lunch to celebrate Honey's role. He brought home excellent bacon, was a patient and caring coach of little league and a push-over for just about anything his kids wanted.

Honey had three dads: his own, his adopted and his mom's third husband Louis. Dr. Roth, his adopted dad,was his dad the longest and during the most crucial years. A commander in the Navy during World War II, He was stationed in Philadelphia where he met Honey's mom, then Hawaii. He loved a scotch with a twist before dinner and playing bridge. He made Honey eat healthy dinners of chicken, coleslaw and tomatoes nearly every night to the point where Honey wouldn't eat chicken and coleslaw or tomatoes till ten years ago. He bought Honey a bike,sent him to college, but never played catch. He was a serious man, a respected doctor who reattached people's appendages. He was an industrial trauma surgeon and started the first Industrial Clinic in Detroit where there were a lot of industrial traumas. When we married, Honey went to work with my dad. Never having spent much time with Doctor, Honey soon thought of my dad as his dad.

Honey lucked out. My dad was terrific. No body loved us more than he did. When he passed and Honey became the patriarch of the family, the shoes he had to fill were huge.

My dad was a big man--Jacky Gleason type. Loved to schmooze with his buddies, was an avid, excellent gin and pinochle player, smooth dancer and a ladies man--not the kind that played around, but the kind that could; women gushed over him. Gifted with a lot of charisma, he was a great salesman.

A generous man, he taught his grandsons to play a mean game of gin by beating the pants off of them, then showing them how he did it. Their best memories of their Pop were sitting on the back porch playing cards and talking business--and on his lap steering the car around in a safely empty parking lot learning to drive. Their worst memory of Pop was going out to dinner. He would tell us he'd found a great place for seafood, or ribs or whatever. We'd pile into the Fleetwood and off we'd go. Three hours later we'd pull up to the restaurant whining, complaining, bitching, rubbing our arses and wondering how we got taken in. We got taken in, because in his warmth , we laughed a lot and absolutely knew for certain we were deeply loved.--So what if he loved to take long, monotonous drives just to go eat!

PHOTOS:
Top to bottom: my dad and me dancing at the Liggett father daughter banquet 1957; Commander Dr. Roth being serious in Hawaii where he was stationed in a serious time in history; my dad's presidential photo for the Furniture Club of Detroit(where he was a founding member and played cards every Tuesday and Friday night come hell or high water).

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