Dear Dad,

Vivid memories of you and family life have been on my mind over the past two weeks.

Always fond memories, but even some from the days when I caused you trouble. Why they surface when they do is beyond me, though I choose to believe it’s your way of letting me know you’re thinking of us.

Like the time we walked to our neighbor’s home for her graduation party, and you told me you were disappointed that I had worn jeans with a rip in the knee. I tried explaining that ripped jeans was the style for teens, but you weren’t having it. By the way, Griffin and I now have the same talk when he asks if he HAS to wear a ‘collared shirt’, as he calls it, to a party.

Or the time when I was younger and refused to eat tomatoes. You told me that the tomato you were holding was really something called a ‘toe-mapple’ and tasted more like fruit. You later laughed when I said I liked it, knowing you had taught me a good lesson.

Or the constant jingle of spare change we would hear when you put your hands in your pocket. You always kept the right amount of coins that would make change for a dollar, ‘just in case.’

Or how when we danced to Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable at my wedding, and you half-hummed your own lyrics in my ear, ‘Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo.’ You were always saying that, whether walking around the house or checking the mail.

Or how I can’t walk past a watermelon at the grocery store, and not think of you carving one in the kitchen. You’ll be glad to know that Hayden loves the stuff as much as you once did, which is why I don’t mind when he asks for thirds.

Or how I was proud to show you off when you visited my sorority house during my college days, yet knew I had let you down when I failed to mention I needed to take one summer course before getting my college diploma.

Or how I sometimes walk into the studio at work to be by myself and listen to audio of you laughing, when the morning show called you years ago. I always loved hearing your happiness.

And you.