A Very Special Snazzy Suits Column

… In which I recall memories of my dad

Hi, everybody! Sorry for being late on my deadline again, but this has been a bit of a weird week for me.

As some may know, this is actually my freshman year of college as well as my first year away from home. So this is the first occasion of me missing my dad’s birthday on account of me not being present with my family; compound that with a slight cold and last week left me feeling a bit homesick.

So – both as a means of providing catharsis and as a special gift to my father – I’ve decided to do something special this week. Presented here in no particular order are 49 fond memories/moments that I have of/share with my dad, in honor of his nearly half-century of living. (Hat Tip: The Cosby Show).

1. When he told me what 36-24-36 meant when I was 12 (I liked The Commodore’s “Brick House” as a kid).

2.  When he stumbled upon my sister’s recording of The Naked Brothers Band on our DVR with the display showing it as “The Naked Brothers.”

3. When he was able to get a piece of soap out of my eye through mystic Dad magic.

4. When he told me his favorite cartoon character was Foghorn Leghorn.

5. When I explained to him what a hipster was.

6. When my family and I watched Inception.

7. When he totally forgot he saw Inception only a year after we had seen it together.

8. When he took me to see The Terminal.

9. When we were at a Halloween-themed county fair and he dangled me above a pit filled with green fog and animatronic monsters.

10. When he took my sister and me to “take-your-child-to-work” day.

11. When I was really excited to eat the freeze-dried, packaged army food that he brought home (they were essentially sub-par crackers, but I still cherished them).

12. Whenever he took my sister and me to Rock Island arsenal to play around on the office chairs; or rather when my sister and I took it upon ourselves to play around with the office chairs when he took us to Rock Island.

13. When he showed me a piece of shrapnel that he collected from an IED that was set off beside him while he was on a tour of duty in the Middle East.

14. When I truly became aware of his mortality after he had shown me the shrapnel piece.

15. That one time he was playing on my pogo stick and did a huge pratfall.

16. The first time he nearly cut me with his chin stubble.

17. When he went into my Nana and Papa’s pool with jean shorts and I thought he was a rebel.

18. When I came to visit his tiny apartment that he had been living in while stationed in Georgia.

19. When he came home from a bout of roller skating with blood patches all over his body (he thought it would be a good idea to take on a steep hill near our neighborhood).

20. When, on our way to the hospital to treat the blood patches, the only real emotion he displayed was mild annoyance.

21. When I found out the reason he had staples in his head were due to running into a wall and falling on the floor.

22. When I found out that he used to have a “skinny frame.”

23. When I looked at old pictures of him in his photo album and didn’t recognize who he was.

24. When I found the perfect word to describe his head – square.

25. When he spoke at my elementary school about his job and I was the coolest kid in the room for a day.

26. Whenever he took me to work out with him and we got crispy chicken wraps from McDonald’s afterwards.

27. When he chuckled after I sang the name-dropping parts of Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman,” because we had heard it THAT many times on the radio.

28. When he made a sharp left turn to get into a parking lot when an oncoming car was really close. I laugh about it now, but I think it was the closest I’ve ever come to having my life flash before my eyes.

28. When I had a dream that he died and I woke up with tears in my eyes (I was 17).

30. When I had cut my sister’s hair and realized that it was possible for me to get into trouble.

31. When he had corrected a paper about all the times he wasn’t able to papers while he was stationed in Iraq.

32. When I gave an impromptu speech at age 10 during the going-away party his co-workers were throwing for him.

33. When he taught me to shave.

34. When he tried to teach me to drive when I was 10.

35. When I knew without fail that he would always park in the back of a parking lot to avoid anybody bumping into his car.

36. When I saw how much his body clenched up whenever he watched Fear Factor

37. When we were singing Afroman’s “Because I Got High” in his old BMW – despite me not knowing what the subject matter was about.

38. When I sang “Because I Got High” to my nana and she fussed at him.

39. Whenever I got into theatrics whenever he played Brian McKnight’s “Start Back at One.”

40. Come to think of it, when I got into theatrics whenever he played “Brick House.”

41. When he was absolutely astounded that I used the word “ordinary” in its proper context (I got it from “Rugrats”).

42. His black leather gloves that he used to wear in his old, brown truck.

43. When I used to call out “Oh Six” in response to his “Ay Phi,” with absolutely no idea as to what any of it meant – other than that it made both of us happy.

44. When he told me to ride my bike when I was without helmet. I ended up with two chipped teeth.

45. When he had took my family, cousins, and me to visit St. Jekyll Island’s fabled rope swing.

46. When I grew the slightest bit envious of my sister, who – through odd circumstances – got to go with Dad to Florida on what was apparently “the best trip ever!”

47. When he and my mom left a video-taped recording of mine and my sister’s favorite Dr. Seuss books while they were away (also, the Bernstein Bears if I recall correctly).

48. When he introduced me to Shazam! and Kung Fu.

49. And perhaps most notable – whenever family members/friends/whomever exclaim in amazement that I look just like him.

Thanks again for dropping by, everybody! With this past black history month it’s been nice reflecting on history of a large scale, but this exercise reminded me how much purpose personal history can signify. Sorry for being so sentimental, back to something different next time.

Take care.

-Chris

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