Gifts From my Father

Robin Botie restores and posterizes an old photo of her father for Fathers Day, in Photoshop.“Dad, is it okay to replace my 17-year-old mattress?” My father’s been gone seven years but I still consult him every time I spend more than what a dinner in a nice restaurant would cost. If I’m spending money on someone else however, I don’t bother to ask. For family or friends, for persons in need, or for matters involving food, I know I have his blessings to be generous.

When my sister and I were about six and seven, my father came home from work one day and took us out shopping for bicycles. The small store was closing but the shopkeeper stayed open for us. We quickly chose our bikes, and my father asked if we wanted bells for our bicycles. No. We were thrilled simply to have bicycles. “How about baskets? Bicycles need baskets,” he said. We shook our heads. No, thank you. “What about these?” he went on, pointing to streamers and things to dangle off the handlebars. My sister and I hugged our new bikes and declined all his offers until he finally nodded in the direction of the shopkeeper and said, “C’mon, what else can we buy? This guy has to make a living too.”

Decades later, right before a winter vacation to a beach, a surgery gone wrong necessitated buying new clothes for my Dad. Having never been sick up until then, he didn’t own a bathrobe or slippers, or anything one would sit still in. He and I went shopping at Nordstrom’s Department Store for sweatpants, pajamas, a swimsuit, and comfortable casual clothes to fit over the temporary catheter and tubing he suddenly had to accommodate. I couldn’t believe my father even knew how to shop. Except for his love of good food he lived very simply, and wore clothes of World War II vintage. When our pile of purchases at Nordstrom’s grew too heavy for me to carry, I asked, “What else can we buy?” this time meaning I thought he had bought enough.
“Now we buy something for you,” he answered. And he bought me a bathing suit, two pairs of sandals, and a red dress.

Maybe my Dad is watching over me still. Maybe he smiles each time I treat a friend to dinner at Gola Osteria. But, except for food and clothing, it’s hard to be generous with myself. Like this old mattress I want to replace. I’ve been looking for a new one for at least three years. Maybe this year, Dad? For Fathers Day.

 

What “gifts” did you inherit from your father? What does Fathers Day mean to you?

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9 thoughts on “Gifts From my Father

  1. Lynne Taetzsch

    I have bought too many mattresses, trying to find just the right nighttime set-up to keep us both happy when Adrian had Alzheimer’s and kept me up at night. Get yourself a good one, Robin!

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I bought the best mattress I could, Lynne. And I’m planning a super early bedtime celebration the day it arrives. Of course, even a terrific mattress isn’t going to be ablle to fix things when the one sleeping next to you feels like dancing in the night. That must have been really tough for you when Adrian wasn’t able to conform to your sleep schedule. My dog occupies the other half of my bed and she is great about sleeping, except she does roll over expecting a belly rub each time I roll over or get up for the bathroom.

      Reply
  2. Lucy Bergstrom

    You really lucked out in your choice of dad. He was a gem, and he would love you to have a new mattress!

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yes, Lucy. I’ve ordered the mattress and already apologized to my Dad for getting one that costs more than a few good meals out. I thinks he’s laughing at me, maybe in disbelief that I made such an ordeal out of it.

      Reply
  3. Elaine Mansfield

    I agree. A home run.

    Come on, Robin. If you can take friends to gourmet restaurants, you can buy yourself a new mattress. I’m positive your dad would agree with me.
    I didn’t write about my dad this year. You’ve honored your dad by making everyone love his generosity.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      So many people don’t like this holiday. I almost didn’t write about my father either. But I am aware everyday that I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it weren’t for him. He is still so much a part of my life that I could not keep quiet about him this time of the year when everyone’s mentioning fathers all over the place. And I did order the mattress. Thanks to his generosity. Cheers, Elaine.

      Reply
  4. Robert

    Your writings are something I look forward to each week. This one hit the ball out of the park, however.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thanks, Bob. And thanks for noticing the lack of post. This is a bit different here too, the response coming and going. Anyway, I like home runs. To me that’s what hitting out of the ball park means.

      Reply

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