Originally wrote and published this on a private site over two years ago when my father died.
My dad passed away last Saturday. This photo is from my wedding in December, we danced to Remember by Harry Nilson as our father daughter dance and cried the entire time. He sang the song horribly off key as always, which made me laugh like it always did. We talked about how when I was little I would stand on his feet to dance with him, and how much we loved each other. It was one of the most special moments of my life and I am so happy that I got to share it with him.
He was a super funny guy, boisterous and a little bit wild. One of my relatives described him as "larger than life", people always like to describe others that way, but in his case it's actually a true statement. He would do all kinds of crazy shit. Once he taught me how to give myself a tattoo with India ink, a thread and a needle, every time I saw him afterwards I'd point at the small tattooed spot on his arm and laugh. He'd howl at the moon when it was full, shave his arm with a knife to test out how sharp it was (he did this with a brand new kitchen knife that he gave me for Christmas one year), had the Coors logo painted on the bottom of his pool, drove a dirt bike off of a cliff, and had so many broken bones in his feet that the only way the doctors could tell if he had broken something new was by comparing new x-rays to old ones. He worked as an iron worker for over 40 years and worked on building the Vincent Thomas Bridge as one of his first jobs.
He taught me how to carve pumpkins, appreciate music and food, love nature, and find humor in pretty much every situation. He was constantly laughing and joking, and was one of those people who had an enormous amount of random facts stored up that he would just pull out at odd moments and surprise us all with. I was constantly asking him "How in the hell do you know about that?"
He also loved to tell stories, especially during family dinners where he'd pull out the inappropriate ones about my grandfather stitching himself up after hitting himself in the leg with an axe. Because doesn't everyone need to hear stories about gore while they're eating their ham? Every time I saw him I walked away with a new story about something hilarious that he'd done. Here's the most recent one from a couple of months ago:
Dad: "There's this guy that I know who's always talking shit about Mexicans. We were out eating at a mexican restaurant and I heard this woman tell her husband in Spanish that if she ate anymore he was going to have to carry her out the door . So I laughed. My friend asked me what I was laughing about and I explained their conversation to him. He looked at me amazed and said "You speak Spanish?" I told him, well yeah, I'm half Mexican."
Me: "Oh my god Dad. What did he do?"
Dad: "Apologized and told me I should have said something sooner."
We all laughed
Dad: "You know I don't think I'm ever going to tell him that I'm not."