After my dad passed, I posted various stories and memories on Facebook that I wanted to save on this blog as well. My dad was an avid blogger and now I feel like I should dust off this ol’ blog too… 🙂
Originally posted June 23, 2020
I was going to text my dad yesterday to ask for advice on starting a compost pile. He would have told me something dumb, like just throw food scraps in the yard, so I would have had to consult the internet anyway. But I always liked getting his dumb advice (most of it was not dumb).
He heard about al dente pasta in Krakow in the 90s, where there were no Barilla boxes with precise timing instructions so he had to figure it out on his own. He served us undercooked pasta multiple times. We kept telling him it wasn’t cooked and he insisted it was al dente. He did eventually figure it out but we ate a lot of crunchy pasta on the way.
One time McDonald’s had a specialty “Chocoshake” dessert. My mom was trying to order our food–in Polish–while my dad just stood there saying “Chocoshake. Chocoshake!” over and over again to her, as if she’d forget. For the longest time if somebody was being pushy or overwhelming we’d respond with “CHOCOSHAKE!” 😂
Whenever he would call me it was with some specific purpose, and he would just launch right into the conversation when I picked up. The most recent one I picked up he immediately went into “HOW OFTEN DO YOU USE THAT FIREPLACE DO YOU NEED FIREWOOD I HAVE SOME BIRCH WOOD IT’S GOOD FOR FIREWOOD IT’S DRY”
I had to decline the firewood because we still have wood left over from when he cut down the tree in my front yard with a handsaw.
He tried not to be too self-indulgent. I remember him smashing a Sega game cartridge with a hammer because he felt he was spending too much time playing it. He threw at least one Civilization II CD out the window like a frisbee. I think he threw out multiple Civ II CDs. It somehow always got back onto his computer. He never advanced beyond Civ II because he felt that game had everything he needed; all the 3D graphics in the newer games were too showy and unnecessary.
He loved the cheese steaks at Mama Lucia’s on Greenmount & 33rd in Baltimore, and the green beans at the State Department cafeteria. He really liked State’s cafeteria in general, but especially them green beans. Go figure.
One time at my house in the city, my mom and I went to Lowe’s while my dad stayed at the house. We called him to ask what he wanted for lunch and he was like “I HIRED A GARDENER FOR YOU.” We were only gone for like 45 minutes. But that was all the time he needed to strike up a conversation with a stranger and make a new friend. They kept in touch even after I left the city. My dad seemed to have an endless interest in other people, something I try to emulate but am nowhere near as good at (to be fair, he had 30 extra years to practice).
He was always very calm and measured and rarely got upset. If you were upset he’d usually say something to deflate your outrage. When I was young this was VERY ANNOYING but as an adult it’s another thing I try to emulate.
There’s more of course but these are some of my favorites.
For every moment of my life I knew he loved and was proud of me (us). I am grateful and lucky that I have no regrets or loose ends. I’m just upset that I didn’t get more time. Of course, in his Doomsday Book he told us not to be upset because he was happy with his life and we should not mourn a life well lived. See, he’s doing that thing again. SO ANNOYING!! 🙂