In The Company of Women – A Tribute to My Father

Today is the ninth anniversary of my father’s death.  Quite simply, I believe he was the greatest father imaginable.  He left a legacy of love, laughter and life lessons embedded in my heart. In tribute, I have re-blogged a story I wrote in his honor.

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Me (lower left) with my two sisters and father. My youngest sister does not appear as she was born eight years later. This was my father’s passport photo taken back in the day when children appeared in picture with their parents.

“In The Company of Women”

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A photo of me and my sisters along with toy poodle Daisy, female too of course.
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I was one of four daughters, attended all girl catholic schools my entire life, never knew what a jock strap looked like, have no idea how to change a tire and never experienced the bright stadium lights at a night-time football game.   My father did put up a basketball hoop once in our driveway, short-lived when the ball sailed through the glass pane of the garage door. There it stood neglected for years a sad testament to the son my mother never had.

My Scottish reared father never once expressed regret at not having a son. Rather, he reveled in his four daughters and life among them. He loved his girls. Though there were times we tried his patience. A flashback of his screams from the shower after being cut by a worn down razor blade used on too many female teenage legs. Or his aversion to the smell of nail polish remover. He hated the smell of nail polish remover.  He was equally content watching a rugby match as he was a cooking show.

During his daughter’s bridal showers, all four of them, rather than fleeing for the afternoon as most men might, my father would delight in being part of the celebration.  There he would sit center stage, in his recliner, newspaper in hand (a ploy to feign disinterest) among the squeals and chaos of thirty females.  Every now and again as a new gift was unveiled he would lift his head up casually and remark  “Ah what’s this one? Hold it up a little closer Kath…”

My sister Sheila, too experienced this sometimes disadvantage of not having grown up with or been schooled among boys.  When she and my mother visited Lord and Taylor to buy her first boyfriend a birthday gift, the saleswoman paused in puzzlement as she inquired as to where she might find the men’s “blouses.”

In addition to my father there was in fact one other male in our family.  A big, beautiful Irish wolfhound, brought back from a holiday in Ireland.  I recall listening in on a now famous conversation in our family between my mother and the vet. “I need to bring Connell in to be spayed,” The vet’s patient reply:  “You mean neutered Mrs. Dickinson.”  My mother’s reply “Oh, yes that is when they fix his vagina?”  My sister and I stared at each other, and then burst into laughter. We thought that something must have gotten lost in translation as my mother, Irish-born, often had her own interpretation of words. Looking back however, I think she simply believed Connell like the rest of us, female, at least in theory.

I married and ironically, have two sons. My eldest is named William in honor of my father.  My husband has taught them the things his own father taught him; how to throw a ball, using common tools for simple jobs, being kind and respectful.  My sons are equally in touch with their feminine side and have as many female friends as male.  They have five female cousins whom they see frequently further adding to their comfort level with girls, not to mention the added bonus of always have a date for the prom.

But I guess in at least one aspect boys will be boys. Despite my pleas, they still on occasion leave the seat up.  I have one small consolation.  Our family’s toy fox terrier Anabel is female.  My father would have loved that….

My handsome father at the 1964 World's Fair being interviewed. He was general manager of Restaurant Associates at the time.
My handsome father at the 1964 World’s Fair being interviewed. He was general manager of Restaurant Associates at the time.

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32 thoughts on “In The Company of Women – A Tribute to My Father

  1. Kathy, what a lovely tribute to your dad. My husband would be able to relate to his experiences, being the father of three girls. He is a little luckier however in that one of his daughters shares his love for football. 🙂 My dad passed away 20 years ago and it saddens me that he never got to see his three granddaughters grow up. He adored them. Sending you love!

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  2. This Dad post is wonderful. . . like the others here I miss my dad too, so very much since his passing 8 years ago. I found a sweet poem–on a Hallmark card !
    — that I love for its powerful expression. I’m not ‘;shilling’ here but if you want to take a look it’s on my blog. I made a little presentation of its text – – lookhere3.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/♥daughter-to-dad-a-poem/

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    1. I LOVED your poem about your dad. Beautiful, sweet and lyrical. You are very talented. Why don’t you submit some of your poetry on WordPress Daily Posts under Poetry category. Do a search and you will find and it may help you with your craft! I also love your selections of music on your blog, many artists who I also enjoy. Have nice weekend.

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      1. I didn’t write that–I wish I had !
        I saw it on a Hallmark card once , really, and had to write it down for its perfect capture of the feeling between my dad and me. I hope it speaks to some ladies who share it with their dads before it’s too late,with their regrets of missed opportunities. .I have a few of those. . .

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    1. I am so sorry about your mother. Very hard to lose a parent. My father’s death on the 12th was sadly my oldest sister’s birthday. I am going to visit your blog shortly. Thank you so much for reading.

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  3. Thank you for liking “Hello Spring!” Wonderful post! 🙂 I am glad that you have happy memories of your life with your father even though he is not here anymore. My mother died ten years ago, so I know what it is like to miss a parent who has passed away.

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    1. Thank you so much for kind comment and reading my story. Yes, losing a parent is so hard. I am sorry about your mother. I loved your “Hello Spring!” Just wish it would come a little faster as it snowed yesterday in Connecticut. Enjoy rest of weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, and thank you for your condolences. I am sorry that you lost your father. While it is not the same as having them physically here with us, at least they can still be with us through memories, photos, and videos.

        I am glad that you enjoyed “Hello Spring!” Sometimes I feel bad that I am showing these beautiful spring scenes while people are still stuck in dreary winter weather. I hope spring will come to your part of the world soon. Have a great week! 🙂

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  4. You are right, I did enjoy reading this. My father used to complain that my mother, sister and I would “line up like a row of corn” when he did something we didn’t agree with. He built a bathroom that would accommodate at least 7 females and then built his own bathroom. Would love to read about your Irish mother.

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    1. How incredibly kind of you to remember to read this story. Thank you so much. Your father sounded indeed like a wonderful and memorable character. I am glad you have your funny memories of him. I will send you a link tomorrow to a couple of stories about my mother Good night!

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  5. How nice you pointed out this story to me… it is so wonderfully written, humorous and with so much love. It left me with tears in my eyes! It is really touching… and it is such a nice tribute to your dad. What a great father he was, one you wish for all children!
    Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. I appreciate you taking the time to read this story Noortje. Yes, he was one of a kind (as was my mother) and his memory lives on every day! As a matter of fact, he loved wild turkeys and I had the pleasure of seeing one in my yard this morning. No doubt a sign. Enjoy your day!

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