June 2007

A Father’s Day Tribute

Author: Tommy Bastek

Anthony T. Bastek
July 9, 1946-November 30, 2000

So here comes Father’s Day—which doesn’t really mean much to me anymore. My father passed away November 30, 2000, and I don’t plan on having any kids. So basically it has just become a day of remembrance, like his birthday and the anniversary of his death. It is the other 362 days of the year that I hear him more clearly.

People handle death in different ways. They also choose to remember their loved ones differently. For me, the time we spent together is what I miss the most. That isn’t what I remember the most, though. It is the life lessons that my dad taught me over the years that keep coming back to me.

My dad harps on me more now that he is gone than he ever did while he was alive. I will open the fridge, half asleep in the morning, and try to decide if I am going to have orange juice or milk. I don’t even get the chance to look at the top shelf before I hear my dad, “Don’t stand there with the refrigerator door open!” (Yikes, I just got the heebie-jeebies thinking about that!) Then I walk into the bathroom and start the shower while I gather my clothes together from the closet. My dad is yelling at me, “Turn off the shower until you are ready. You’re wasting all the hot water!”

After another gentle reminder from the grave, I pick up the Q-tip from the floor that missed the trash can, replace the toilet paper on the empty roller and wipe off all of the water that I left all over the sink. Oh, and don’t let me off the hook now, Dad. “Turn off the lights when you leave the room!”

You might think that I had a tough upbringing, with all those rules and the constant harping and griping. But that isn’t the case. The other things I still hear during the day keep me going:

“Smile. It’s catching.”
“Hold your head up and be proud.”
“Treat everyone with respect and they will do the same.”
“Please, may I and thank you.”

So this Father’s Day, I ask of you two things. If your father has passed on, think of the things he taught you, whether it was in the form of quiet advice or a raised voice. Whichever way it came, one thing I am sure of, it was for a good reason. If he is still alive, call him today; write him letter; send him an e-mail, or whatever. Just give him the advice that I hear more often from my father than anything else:

“Remember, I love you.”

I miss you and love you, Dad.

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