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Happy Father's Day -- Belatedly

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Thank you for assuring me I wouldn't drown when the water was filling the bathtub when I was very young and very sure the water would keep coming and what would happen then? You showed me that spot under the faucet, a little emergency drain.

Thank you for introducing me to your favorite athletes. Joe Louis. Sugar Ray Robinson. Sam Snead. Together, we liked Joe Frazier (you were not an Ali guy) and Jack Nicklaus.

Thank you for all your music I didn't like then. Duke Ellington. Ella Fitzgerald. Louie Armstrong. (You were not a Charlie Parker guy). Those old albums of yours? I have them now on CD.

Thank you for your work bench. I kept your level and some weird massive wrench. I never saw you use it. I haven't used it. But I like having a weird massive wrench in the unlikely event a major construction project bewitches me.

Thank you, thank you, for taking us to the Florida Keys all those summers. I complained because my friends were going to faraway places like Chimney Rock in a faraway land called North Carolina while we were stuck going again to the Keys -- a whopping two-and-a-half hour drive from our home. I miss the Overseas Highway (off-season) bisecting the Atlantic and Florida Bay, those water colors, those roadside restaurants serving conch fritters and fresh dolphin. I still get to the Keys when I can. I need that place.

Thank you for, on sneaky occasion, giving me the first cold blast of your Pabst.

Thank you for your love of boats. You bought me and my brother that 12-foot Jon boat from Sears. We'd get tiny fiberglass splinters hauling it around. I taught myself how to handle a small boat in the Everglades and Key Biscayne. I learned a boat is better than any car will ever be. Our 7.5 Merc outboard was moodier than I was.

Thank you for the golf lessons. I still can handle a nine iron, but golf didn't stick with me. Damn you, long irons.

Thank you for going to my basketball games. Watching me made you nervous (playing made me nervous). You didn't go to many of them. That's OK. Please know I improved my free throw shooting.

Thank you for taking me to Disney World the year after it opened. You would have much rather been on a golf course, or fishing, or listening to Louie Armstrong in your La-Z-Boy, or watching Don Shula's Miami Dolphins beat everybody. But you went to the Magic Kingdom, suffered the long lines, indulged me, fathered me.

Thank you for maybe the greatest Christmas gift. 1970. My brother left for college. You turned his bedroom into your office. This was not my idea. My idea was that his room -- bigger, better -- should be passed down to me. I communicated this to you on many occasions. You didn't budge for months. Then, that Christmas, you bugged out of the corner bedroom. You actually deeded me the room -- a legal document you drew up at your law office. I became the official owner of my brother's bedroom. As it should be. I still keep the deed in a lock box just in case someone tries to steal the memory.

I have become a memory hoarder, but I wish I could remember more things to thank you for on Father's Day.

At least this year I have a card.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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