It's been seven years to the day since my dad died of a heart attack.
Hard to believe it has been that long.
And this year seems more difficult because Chaia is here now.
She won't know him but through the stories we tell. So it is important that we remember well and tell the stories often.
One of the classic stories happened when Shaina and I were just starting out in the dating realm.
It was Christmas Break of our Freshmen Year of College. It was back in the days of Instant Messenger. My dad was online and Shaina IM'd him. She was coming to our place to head to Christmas Conference with a group of us out in Indianapolis. She had a strategy that I have seen her use repeatedly since...win people with baked goods. She asked if my dad liked cookies...He said yes. She asked if he liked chocolate...He said yes. She asked if he liked cherries...He said yes.
And so Shaina typed her triumphant line...knowing exactly what she would bring to win the hearts of my family. She typed "Well then I've got just the thong for you."
This was a bad time for the I and the O to be next to each other on the keyboard.
And as Shaina recalls it...there was dead silence on the screen...no reply...she typed over and over "Thing...I meant thing"...no reply.
As I recall it...my dad was chuckling uncontrollably and waving at the rest of us to come to the computer to check out the minor (yet major) typo.
It was official. Perhaps one of the greatest fears in a young man's life. My girlfriend had made a pass at my dad.
We were all laughing pretty heartily.
So the next day or so, Shaina arrives, Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies in tote. We had our family Christmas then and as was the custom, everyone got the same number of gifts. The only thing was that Shaina had one more gift than the rest of us.
So as everyone watched her open the miscalculated bonus gift, her pride for earning such quick favor in my family turned to utter dread as she opened a dual gift of a box of chocolate covered cherries and a lacy thong in front of my entire family.
It was the defining moment for our relationship. If Shaina could handle the antics of my dysFUNctional family, we would make it through anything.
One thong led to another and we've been married for almost 9 years!
Dad, thanks for the laughter and giving us things to remember well. Miss ya.