I was halfway through a podcast about the latest news of the week on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. It was my parents' home number.
“Hey Dad, what’s up?”
“Hey, kid! Just calling to let you know that ‘The Thin Man’ is on TCM right now. I know that’s one of your favorites, so I thought I’d give you a ring.”
I smiled. It’s a pretty typical phone call to receive from Dad. He’s a fan of classic films and it’s a trait that’s definitely rubbed off on me.
Growing up, I spent many Sunday afternoons watching movies like “His Girl Friday,” “The Glenn Miller Story” and “Mr. Roberts” on the Turner Classic Movie channel with my father. I really appreciate that he still continues to let me know when one of our favorites is on. He’s the reason I’m pretty well-versed in older music, movies and TV shows.
With Father’s Day just behind us, I’ve found myself reflecting on other little things I appreciate about my dad: his movie alerts, his technical knowledge and his cooking.
A few weeks ago, Dad was in definite need of distraction. He was having a rough day, so I picked my brain for a topic of conversation that I knew would interest him. Earlier that week, I’d taken a tour of the Edna G tugboat and since Dad’s an old Navy sailor, I figured that would be a safe bet.
“Ah, that’s an old boat. What’s it run on?” he asked.
“Steam, but from coal,” I replied.
“Do you know how those kind of engines work?” he asked. I shook my head.
“Would you like to know?” I nodded and he pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and off he went.
My dad is very technically minded. He’s fascinated by how things work and will never waste an opportunity to explain something in full detail. These explanations are often aided by rough drawings to help provide a mental picture.
He has a wide array of interests, everything from the internal combustion engine to tube televisions to pop rivets to the drills he used to operate at the mine where he worked. Some of the knowledge comes from years of working in the field, but some things he learns from watching the History Channel.
I’ve learned a lot from his explanations, but unfortunately, I don’t quite have his profound recollection. But I appreciate the time he takes to explain.
One thing I can’t explain about my father is how his pancakes always turn out so well. He’s gone through his process several times, but for some reason, his always turn out so much better. It might be his years of practice.
Every Sunday while I was growing up, Dad would make either french toast or pancakes for lunch following church. To this day, whenever I head up to Gilbert for a weekend, I know I’ll likely eat one meal with syrup.
Dad doesn’t limit his cooking expertise to breakfast foods, though. He was always the main cook in the house. It’s one of the ways he expresses his love — making sure there’s a good meal on the table. In fact, I have a leftover meatloaf sandwich from him waiting for me once I finish this column and my stomach is growling, so I think I’d better wrap it up.
Happy (belated) Father’s Day, Dad! Thank you for the movie reminders, your many explanations, and the many, many meals over the years.