Monday, March 19, 2007

The Holiday

My dad would have really enjoyed this movie. Today is the 8th anniversary of his death. We were so incredibly blessed to have him while we did. This is not an occasion for sadness, but rather for remembering and rejoicing and being grateful for so many things. And for laughing. ^_^

My dad had a zany sense of humour and was always doing crazy things. If they had already invented (the label) ADHD when he was a kid, he would have been the poster child. If they used it for adults, he would have been the poster adult. He was a spontaneous, enthusiastic, and exuberant guy, and he was always hatching hare-brained schemes. If you've seen Over the Hedge, think Hammy, only with a brain. ^_^

One time, he went through a hot-air balloon making phase. He took those super thin plastic food-storage bags (the kind with the plastic that appears to be cross-hatched when you look closely, and that you close with a twisty) and cut them apart and ironed a bunch of them together in a big bag shape. Then he suspended a candle beneath the bag with string (fishing line maybe?) and chopsticks. It worked. I remember that it seemed to take forever to fill, and I can still picture it lifting slowly up into the night sky and then off over the jungle, to the oohs and ahhs of us all (a bunch of his students came to watch.) I'm still unsure of why the jungle didn't catch fire. ^_^

Another time he went through a phase of making smoothies. He was all about speed. (his nickname as a kid was "Road Runner" because he NEVER walked) The faster you could assemble food or drinks, the better. My favourite smoothie involved a bunch of stuff plus 7up and a poorly secured blender lid. It also involved a lot of clean-up after the lid blew off. ^_^

He made up a lot of silly family words, some (like "Nuftegyew" -- something a monkey once said to him ^_^) inspired by his childhood in India, China and Taiwan. He taught my sister and I how to curse someone in Urdu, and he wasn't scandalised when I said the word "crap" when I was 7 or 8. He could cook a mean curry, and loved to sing, play and compose music. He had his pilot's license, and wrote a COMAL (computer) language programming book. When he saw smoke on the horizon, he'd bustle my sister and I into the Rover (or later the VW Bug) and we'd go stomp out the fires. He taught us to swim, dive and snorkel, and he was the one who discovered that we could swim with the blue jellyfish without getting stung.

He was kind to animals, and caught some of the rats and mice in our ceiling with humane traps made from Klim or Milo cans, and let them go in the jungle. One time he cut a hole in the bathroom ceiling to free a trapped rat. He lured it into a cage with a slice of green apple, and took it to his bio lab to show the kids before letting it go. We had a chicken in Indiana, because he incubated chicken eggs for his bio class and then brought home the chick for us to keep. It had imprinted on him and he had to show it how to be a proper chicken. ^_^ We also had a pigeon named Pea Brain. Students would bring him animals that they rescued, like the baby bats they found in the library.

He would let my sister and I hang out with him in the lab, and take apart and build the anatomy guy. He showed us how to burn sugar into crisp little carbon cakes on the bunsen burners, and he brought home miscroscopes so we could see the world in a different way.

And he loved movies. Theatres had been verboten to us in our first religion (though he did sneak us all off to see Star Wars - my first theatre film.) Once we broke free from that, he made up for it with a vengeance. The theatre people came to know him and encouraged him to attend showings for free. He found something to like about almost every film he saw. But that's he how was about life - there was always something to like, and if you couldn't like something, you could laugh about it. ^_^

I'm sure that if you made it through all that, you can see my dad in me. And I can see him in my sister and in my kids, especially Fishy, his namesake. (well, you know ^_^)

Even when he was sick, he laughed. The morphine made him say and think some pretty weird stuff and a moment or two later he'd realise it and laugh himself silly. One of the best ones was when he announced that "hundreds of Russian women" were "coming over the hill. In tiny cars!" ^_^ So today I remember Daddy, and I laugh, because there is so much to laugh about. :)

Wow. Orignally this was just going to be a title and a YouTube. Bless you if you made it this far. ^_^ What makes you laugh?


ARM said...

This is what I'm talking about. This is the way to mourn - or rather celebrate the passing of a loved one.

I do see you (what I know of you) in the description you gave of him, and I'm sure that's just barely penetrating the surface.

I'm so glad that you have such wonderful memories of your father. Thank you for sharing with us.

~d said...

Dear Candace, may your father rest in peace.

Trundling Grunt said...

He sounds like he was a fun guy and great to have such memories of him. You are blessed in your memories.

It also explains something of you and your outlook on things. And, yes, that is intended as a compliment.

Jay said...

Anyone can grieve, but to turn the grief around into a celebration is a true testament to a very worthy person. Thanks for sharing his memory.

Big hugs.

Good for Me said...

this is such a beautiful post and tribute to your father. you are fortunate to have been raised by him. wow! not knowing you at all, it was great to read this and glean some insight.

ldbug said...

Wow, he sounded like a great guy and your family was lucky to have had him, and still have him in your memories!

I laughed at the word he learned from a monkey:-)

Logophile said...

I love this post. Your dad sounds amazing and wonderful, and yes, definitely left an imprint on you.
You seem the perfect legacy to honor an amazing man.

jali said...

Your dad sounds like someone I would have loved to hang out with. This is a beautiful tribute to what I consider a really cool dude!

I laugh at so many stupid things but I can't think of one good example right now.

I'm saving your weblog as a "keeper".

egan said...

A zany sense of humor? I can't imagine that in the least bit. You're so straight laced and all that crap.

I'm so glad you celebrate your father's loss and don't get too sad. It should be a way we celebrate the impact our loved ones had on us. I guess it's okay to cry though, I'm a huge sap.

Phil said...

I would of love to have your Da. What are incredible life.

Gawpo said...

Su Papa es me Papa! My dad took us through our own hot air balloon phase. I love your daddy, Candace. Thank you for sharing him with us. Having fathers whose inner kid never went away is a rare treat. I still have my father and will appreciate him even more after this. Thank you.

Candace said...

Everyone - I'm sorry to reply to you all at once. I think this is a first for me.

Thank you all so much for your very kind words. My dad was so much fun to be with and we had a great day in celebration of his life.

In keeping with the zany hare-brained scheme tradition, I dyed all the girls' hair red with Kool-Aid last night on a total whim, and MuNKi got into the spirit of things and brought me some mousse to dye my own hair a less shocking shade of red. ^_^ Tomorrow is Holy Wednesday, so maybe I will FINALLY get around to posting those pics. ^_^

Thank you all, so much. You never fail to make life even more interesting, and I love you all for that. :)

egan said...

How sweet of you with your blanket response. I love the Kool-Aid dye job.

Candace said...

Are you giving me shit about my hearfelt words? Doody Head. ^_^

somewhere joe said...

You're a lucky girl - so's you're dad, and if he read this he probably laughed his zany and celestial butt off and shed a tear or two...

Urdu? Jungle? Swimming with the jellyfish? Nuftegyew! I hope you kept notes.

What makes me laugh? Since I turned fifty and my Buddha gene kicked in, a lot more than before.

egan said...

I was actually being serious for once.

Slade said...

I can already see that your dad is where you get your great sense of humor...I am sure much of him lives in you today.

Happy angel day to your daddy!

Candace said...

Thanks, Joe. ^_^ I hope so. :) I need to make notes! I like the Buddha gene. I assume you mean compassion-wise, because it's certainly not shape-wise.

Egan - No, no, my friend. I have finally learned. ^_^

Slade - Thank you. :)