That’s What She Said: How I honour my late father this Father’s Day
- Dawn Dumont | June 17, 2019
As Father’s day approaches, I remember again that I’ve bought my last card, struggled with wondering if my dad would like the funny one or the sentimental one? (Neither – he preferred being taken for breakfast. My dad could eat breakfast three times a day – he was the original baconater.)
Like any nerd encountering “feelings”, I’ve been researching grief. On special days, instead of pretending that the day is not happening, it is healthier to find ways to honour our loved ones. So here is a list of activities I’ll engage in on Father’s Day in memory of mine:
1. Defend golfer Tiger Woods at all costs. Yes he’s cheater; yes he had a DUI that involved painkillers, but dammit he’s still the best golfer the world has ever seen. You can focus on the infidelities and the DUI’s, I’ll focus on that backswing. Or whatever its called, I honestly know nothing about golf except that Tiger Woods looks pretty good in pair of fitted khakis.
2. When Obama was in office, my dad and I used to watch every speech and every press conference with pure joy. It was such a thrill seeing a proud person of colour occupying one of the highest offices in the world. And so talented, his diction was always perfect, and his voice was as smooth as Nutella. Then we’d get mad at CNN for being critical of anything that handsome audacious orator said. Things were a little different with President Trump. Although my dad was sick and his mobility very limited, he still managed a frown whenever the rancid marmalade POTUS spoke. (Does it really qualify as speaking though – when its just slurring out random alt-right terms like a racist robot being sprayed with water?) On my visits to the hospital, I would regale my dad with Jon Oliver, Michelle Wolf and Seth Meyers takedowns on Trump. So for my dad, I’ll spend some time slamming the orange slime monster to the south. Perhaps I’ll think up some places I’d like to put that stupid wall of his.
3. Every Native girl thinks that her dad looks like Elvis Presley. But my dad actually did. And to accentuate this resemblance, my dad’s hair was always combed back in an Elvis pompadour. Like Elvis, he also inspired some crushes. When my mom was engaged to him, other women actually approached her to tell her: “you’re marrying him? You’re so lucky!” which my mom wryly observes, “didn’t say much about what they thought about me.” So it will definitely be a blue suede shoes kind of day for me.
4. There was something about Asian food restaurants and my dad. He was always looking for the perfect one. He had found it once in Regina and we went there frequently throughout my childhood. Whenever we stopped in, my dad would befriend the owner. Within minutes, the two of them would be calling each other “cousin” and exchanging some rather racist jokes. Father’s day sounds like the perfect time for some fried chicken rice while being uncomfortably familiar with the owner.
5. My dad loved the casino. I don’t know even know if “love” is the right word – what do you call an all-encompassing feeling to be connected to the smell of dusty carpet, the blurred spin of slot machines and the collective murmur of prayers and swears? My dad visited the casino regularly no matter the weather. He once drove to the casino in minus thirty with his window down because it had frozen like that. While a fan of all the gambling arts, his favourite game was poker. I wish I could have shared this hobby with him. I do have a great poker face – my friends call me “the robot” – but alas I have never figured out what a flush is and does it beat a pair? But I’ll give it a try for the old man – or even better, I’ll sponsor my mom who shared his passion for diving off the cliff of fate into the ambivalent arms of luck.
Whatever I end up doing, I know that it will involve remembering a fun-loving man with a laugh that could be heard for blocks. It will involve honouring his memory and keeping it alive by always reminding my son about what a wonderful poppa he had.