Happy father’s day to my dad, John Palfy.
To the man who let me eat donuts for breakfast.
Who let me stay up late to watch Westerns.
Who took me to see the Easter bunny and Santa Claus.
Who bought me my first tape deck and a Chuck Berry tape to play in it.
Who raised me as a single father after my parents’ divorce when I was 11.
Who slept on a couch for a year because we could only afford a one-bedroom apartment.
Who listened to me cry about high school boyfriends.
And college boyfriends.
Who didn’t care that I wore ridiculous black eyeliner and red (or black) lipstick in high school, and then cried when kids made fun of me. Who didn’t say, “I told you so.”
Who tried to pretend I didn’t smell like pot when I came home from college.
Who didn’t get mad when I got tattoos. Or piercings. But who swears I got a speeding ticket because of my nose ring in college.
Who took me to concerts all summer long — U2, Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco, 10,000 Maniacs, Sinead O’Connor. Who supported my musical obsessions in high school — and was thrilled to go to shows.
Who always rented movies so when I got off my third-shift job on college breaks, I could watch a movie and wind down, at 7:30 a.m.
Who didn’t really understand the whole college thing, but made sure I went, anyway.
Who is the world’s best crossword-puzzler.
Who sings Marty Robbins songs to make me laugh — and drive me crazy. “Out in the west Texas town of El Paso … .”
Who put in nearly 50 years with General Motors, and tries not to act betrayed when I pick him up in our Subaru or our Toyota. Who says he “keeps America moving.” Who wore Levis and a golf shirt every day of his career.
Who has spent a billion dollars in lottery tickets.
Who watches more television than anyone I know.
Who always, always has time for me when I call. Who always makes the time to hear about whatever I want to talk about. Who offers solid advice to me — and sympathy to my husband, for putting up with me.
Who cried when I had a miscarriage.
Who cried when I had a son. A daughter.
Who wants to make sure that my son, Jack, and my dog, Harley, are good friends, because he just likes the idea of a boy and his dog.
Who calls Genevieve, “Little G.”
Who loves me all the time, no matter what.
Who told me to never, ever be afraid to tell my kids — daily — how much I love them.
Who truly tried to see my side when I would rant and rave about things in my teens, or 20s. Or hell, my 30s.
Who tells me the best parenting advice is to remember how I felt at a certain age, and try to sympathize with my kids. But to remember that the only parenting opinion that matters is mine, and Philip’s.
Who has his share of faults, but forgives others’ faults to easily, you have to forgive his.
Who is so similar to me, that we have agreed to back down from fights, because we know we would both fight to the death.
He’s loyal, kindhearted, funny, quick-witted, serious, dark and well-read.
Happy Father’s Day, dad. God, I love you.