One would think I have no obligations on this Father's Day seeing as mine passed away five months ago. Too bad that isn't true.
I have the soul responsibility of getting through today in once piece. As luck would have it, Father's Day 2009 not only lacks the presence of my own father but it's my dog Coco's 13th birthday (may she too rest in peace) and my Grandma Irene's 90th.
Today is a day that we should all be celebrating together: brunch at the country club for the humans and vanilla Häagen-Dazs® for Coco -- she deserves a treat, it is her birthday after all!
Then the obligatory exchange of gifts between my grandpa, uncle, and dad (often times these gifts include various sweaters from Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and J.Crew). The kids watch and wait while catching some cuddle time with the dog. The women sip on coffee and thank everyone for such a "pleasant" afternoon (whether or not it was one). And then -- my favorite part -- the drive home.
The drive home occurs as a result of the hour and a half trek we would take to the Father's Day celebration. You see, us Chicago folk take the day trip to Michigan City, In. It's a small town near the border of Michigan and Indiana (in case you couldn't figure that one out). Just imagine any stereotypical, mid-western small town and you'll come up with a semi-accurate picture in your mind.
The ride back always felt longer than the one on the way to Michigan City. This is because there was always more to talk about after the Father's Day festivities were over than beforehand. Yes ... there were more cars filtering through the Indiana Toll Roads at the end of Father's Day. All the commuters from North West Indiana and some parts of Chicago do make their way back and forth in less time than it would take a family of four plus two dogs in a black Volvo station wagon to get from Michigan City to Wrigleyville, but that didn't matter. Sure ... my sister and I never unpacked the car. Dad did that. And in our defense, the dogs didn't help unpack either.
But I digress...
I could never pinpoint why the car ride home was my favorite part of Father's Day. I never thought about it before. But after some thought, I've come to a conclusion. This might come to some shock or chagrin of a few of my family members since I've made a consistent attempt at never admitting my feelings toward those with a blood relation to me for whatever reason. I enjoyed the car ride home because I was stuck inside a four-walled space with people who didn't care how big of a idiot I may sound like on occasion or would yell at me for how many times I drop the "F-bomb" because it's unwomanly.
I wont lie. I miss being made fun of for constantly asking the word "what". Dad always did do the best impression of me.
The family will not be together this Father's Day. Everyone is spread far and wide: Chicago, D.C., Arizona, Michigan City, Boston, "heaven" ... you know ... everywhere you can think of except for being together. That's no one's fault, that's how the world works. Some years are better than others, some years are worse, but today I will sip some scotch for my dad and eat some ice cream for my dog.
At least we all still have our memories, L'Chaim.
Norah Jones - The Long Way Home (Video, Live from Austin)