When I was a little kid, around 5 or so, my dad and I would go to the bakery to pick up breakfast for the rest of our sleeping family. And he would teach me how to drive. In my feety pajamas.
There I was behind the wheel, turning at the corner and pulling up in front of the bakery. Of course, I was sitting on my dad’s lap, and he was really doing all the driving, but in my 5-year-old’s mind – I *was* the driver.
Granted, this was the late 60s. Seatbelts weren’t something anyone actually put on, airbags were still years away from development and there just weren’t that many cars on the road. I was driving. At 5.
My dad also taught me about apple pie. My dad and I seemed to be the only ones in the house awake in the mornings. Hence our secret driving trips to the bakery. Some mornings we’d just have breakfast in the kitchen together. One week in particular I remember that he kept eating apple pie for breakfast. I thought it looked SOOOO gross. And I told him so. Day after day. “Ewwe, Dad. That’s looks gross. How could you eat that? Ewe.”
But he just sat there with his boyish smile, shoving pie down the ole’ pie hole. Finally, after a few days of this, instead of just smiling, he said: “Pinky” (the nickname my sister gave me before I was born that has stuck long into my adult-life…), “have you ever tried apple pie?”
Me: “No. Gross.”
Jimbo: “Why don’t you try it? You might like it.”
Me: “No. Gross.” (As you can see, my vocabulary was very advanced at this young age.)
Jimbo: “Please. Just a bite?”
Me: (Never able to deny my favorite father) “Ok. Just one bite.”
Me: “OH WOW!!! THIS IS GREAT! Can I have a piece?”
Jimbo: “Nope. That was the last piece.”
And right there in the kitchen I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t scoff at apple pie until you take a bite!
My dad also taught me how to swim.
Or in this case, how to raft.
Years later, he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.
He looked so cute in his tuxedo. It was all I could do to not burst into tears and ruin my mascara.
My husband named my dad Jimbo shortly after meeting him and meeting a pair of my shoes. "Huh," you say? It all came about because I had a (what I thought great) pair of black loafers with a kind of platform-y rubber sole. My husband thought they looked like shoes my dad would wear. The shoes became known as my Jimbo shoes, my dad became known as Jimbo, and the name just stuck.
This is my first father’s day without Jimbo. He passed away in February, one month before his 70th birthday. I miss him every day but know my memories of him keep him alive. I will continue to relish those memories, his funny sense of humor and the things he taught me about life.
And the apple pie.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.
March 5, 1935 - Feb 1, 2005