I’ll be spending my day with Papa Snob, watching a sad edition of “Meet the Press.” We get together every Sunday morning and watch it. I just can’t imagine the show without Tim Russert. What a way to go, at your desk, at work.
There’s been nothing but wall-to-wall coverage. It oddly reminds me of a mash-up of the coverage of when Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., the once-and-future-king, got themselves killed in gruesome fashion, leaving the networks assuaged in grief. Some are already kvetching about it.
Yet, once again, this is another journalist who I didn’t expect to die who died before Andy Rooney and Mike Wallace.
That said, happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I was fortunate to have a great father and two wonderful grandfathers in my life. Last night I reminisced on my Grandpa’s love of talking about the same thing over and over, talking to himself, showing off his grandchildren and asking me to give him some of my hair to cover his bald head. How much he loved to eat (especially glazed donuts, vanilla ice cream, anything with sugar, stinky fried catfish, barbecue and watermelon). How much he loved my Granny. And how much my Granny misses him since he died in 2001. They had nine children together, my mom is their oldest, and got married when they were teenagers.
My father, master of making pancakes and fixing problems, is the first man my sisters and I ever loved. He is a giant to us (even though he’s only 5’11”). And he has always been our protector, our supporter, our hero.
He doesn’t talk much and he can sometimes be a little intimidating, but he worked hard for us every day. Now he’s retired, spending his time watching nothing but news programming and sports. I always teased him because I knew how much he loved us, but had a hard time expressing it. I would joke, “But if you say you love us, then we’ll know!” But when I was little, every morning before he went to work, he would come into our room and kiss us on the cheek while we were asleep and tell us he loved us. And I would wake up early and pretend to be asleep so I could enjoy hearing him say that.
He took me to the zoo and taught me how to draw. He encouraged me to be a writer and took me on Sunday drives. He taught me how to drive and when I was very little, he taught me that being black was beautiful, by doing the simplest of things.
I loved to color and in my Barbie coloring book I always colored the Barbies with the pink flesh colored crayon and gave them yellow hair. One day he asked if he could color with me and I happily said yes. And while I colored mine white, he took a brown crayon and black crayon giving his Barbie chocolate colored skin and black hair. He showed it to me and said, “Isn’t she pretty?” I was amazed. I thought that was the prettiest coloring book Barbie in the world. I had simply been coloring them the way they looked on the front of the book. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could color her any way I wanted.
From then on I colored and drew nothing but black people.
And while I call him “Papa Snob” on the blog, in real life I call him Daddy.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.