My dad. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. What can I say about him? Well, for starters, we are trying to have WV call him Gramps. Because it suits him just right. He is exactly how you would picture a Gramps—goofy in a sometimes weird, sometimes funny way, persnickety, he makes stuff up, and he cares a great deal about his friends and family without showing it outwardly all the time. I thought, in order to give a good picture for why I am glad my dad is my dad, I would paint a few memories from my childhood.

• Goofy in a sometimes weird, sometimes funny way. When my sister, brother and I were single digits in age, my mom was the choir director at church. Which left my dad to get us all ready for church. I’ve heard several reports from my parents’ friends about how…interesting…our outfits and hair would sometimes be. But my favorite is a crystal clear memory—my dad pulled out the weekend paper and had us go through the catalog, cutting out pictures of the jewelry, accessories, and watches we liked. Then he proceeded to tape them onto us so we could wear them to church. He had a way of convincing us we were starting a new trend, so we proudly and confidently rocked our paper high end accessories. Needless to say, it didn’t start a new craze, but I still think the idea has potential to blow up big some day.

He sometimes dances. Related to the above point, no one dances quite like my dad. And as a child, I remember being impressed that everyone was looking at him—at us, because all of my family friends would follow the leader with his dance moves when we went to Greek Fest, a local event in Elgin that includes a dance floor. This isn’t good dancing, mind you. But it’s fun, odd, ungraceful push-your-hands-out-and-in, put-your-finger-on-your-head-and twirl dancing.

Persnickety. He didn’t like how his wild kids got in and out of the car. He didn’t like it one bit. We showed no respect for that glorious old truck with side facing fold down jump seats in the back and room for one kid in the front. Too much wrestling. Too much hair pulling. Too much scraping of the floor fibers with rubber-soled shoes. So as a punishment one day, when he’d just had it, he made us climb in and out of the car, rotating seat positions, for a half hour. After that long thirty minutes, we never disrespected the glorious red seat and floor fibers again.

He makes stuff up. This one is self-explanatory, and I don’t have a particular memory of it, mostly because I live it every day. Yes, this unfortunate trait was passed right along to me, full force. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I find myself answering anyway, confidently delivering guesses as if reading out of an encyclopedia, even though my brain is telling me the whole time, “Stop, stop, you don’t know what you’re saying. You’re making this up. You know this is all fiction you are saying in a convincing way, with an authority your loose facts and often wrong intuition don’t deserve. Lies, lies!” But alas, I can’t help it. It’s genetic.

• He cares about his friends and family without showing it outwardly all the time. My dad sometimes gets an A+ for saying and doing the wrong thing. When Wally and I called him to let him know we got our marriage license signed, he responded as our insurance agent: “Oh, do you want your name changed on your policies?” When I hit a deer in high school, his first response was, “Is the car okay?” Ay ay ay, come on, Dad! But often, at the most important moments that matter, he pulls through.

When I turned 18 I took a course in CPR for a daycare job I was taking that summer. The next day, I was at the softball field and someone called out, “Does anyone know CPR?” I went running to my dad’s field to find one of his friends had collapsed. I did what I could remember from the day before, in a full-adrenaline move that seemed to have no affect whatsoever. I kept working with the few people that were out there with me, still to no avail. The ambulance came what felt like forever later, and we waited. We went to the hospital with the family to receive the news that he hadn’t survived the massive heart attack. I was stunned and felt guilty and responsible—I should have done CPR better. I questioned everything I had done. I was in a daze, shocked by the death of a family friend and tangled with other emotions. I didn’t tell anyone how I felt. That afternoon my dad found me, and let me know he had talked to the emergency responders from the ambulance. He asked them the question that had been tearing me up all day: Was there anything that could have been done? They had told him no. The heart attack was so massive, even their machines wouldn’t restart the heart. Nothing at any time could have been done.

I still feel relief and comfort from that message from my dad, who was mourning the loss of a friend but still took the time to think of me and tell me exactly what I needed to hear to go on.

My dad is a good dad. I am lucky to have him, as interesting as he had made life. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! And no, I didn’t steal your cooler or your Harry Potter DVDs!