This is mine. He's the best. I call him Dird, which he doesn't like so much, so it stuck. At my 26th birthday party, also known as Court-a-palooza, he came and after much encouragement from Whitters and other friends, built a bonfire in my backyard. I was more worried about it than he was, which kind of describes our relationship. He taught me to cook tortilla soup and gooseberry pie, taught me to fish (though I hate it), taught me to tend bar, and is still trying to teach me how to drive the boat and effectively manage money.
I used to spend my summers with him in Tulsa, and I love being back near the places we frequented. He'd take me to Steve's Sundry in Tulsa, where I would beg for more and more books, and we'd share a float. He finally began to make me put back books that weren't at least 300 pages (so they'd last more than a day and maybe help his pocketbook). He'd always let me buy a Sweet Valley High or Babysitter's Club super edition book, because they stayed partially read for a longer period of time.
We also went to Woodward Park where I would climb in the waterfalls and splash him. I'm sure he loved it, because one time I wanted to go to the pool, and he said he'd take me, but then he just took me to one of those big fountains in front of a huge office building and got in it. I sat in the car and fumed (I'm not much of a rule-breaker with those types of things), but then he looked like he was having so much fun, and I was so hot, so I got in. It was awesome for all of five minutes before the security guard kicked us out.
We'd go to Utica Square, to have dinner at Olive Garden (my-then VERY FAVORITE RESTAURANT), where I'd have minestrone soup and manicotti every single time. I'm not proud of my past love for chain restaurants and menu-adherence, but my taste buds and palette hadn't evolved yet, OKAY?
Anyway, my dad has always encouraged me and believed in me, from letting me read in the car when he'd drive 6 hours across the state to pick me up (and I read for the entire 6 hours back) to changing his registration to be a Democrat when I worked on my first presidential campaign (even though I had to, in return, shoot a gun). He's funny as all hell, with a very dry sense of humor, and he makes me giggle in church and get in trouble from Mary Ma. He's lucky to have found a very wonderful companion, V.V., who is also hilarious, and it makes for fun family meals. He's currently remodeling his house, and loves to hear suggestions from the entire fam-damn-ily about exactly what and how he should do next. I'm sure he'd love to hear your advice, too.
During the weekends I spent with him at the lake in college and after, he loved to try to wake me up for Meet The Press around this time every Sunday. I love MTP, and I love my Dad, but in the OKC area it comes on at 10AM, which is more doable. I'm not a very easy person to get out of bed, so I slept in more than I should have. I wish I were watching Tim Russert grill politicians with him right at this moment.
I wrote this post a few days early, and honestly wrote the above paragraph about two hours before I found out Tim Russert had died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. I am extremely saddened by the news, and I know my dad is heartbroken, because our country lost an objective and REAL political analyst who challenged all politicians (no matter the party), and my family's living rooms lost our Sunday morning friend.