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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Letter from the Publisher

May 30, 2012 11:41AM

Holly Baker, Publisher

I think of my dad often, even though this year it will be 13 years since his passing. He would be celebrating his 90th birthday in July. Often to my adolescent horror growing up, Dad was a true character and was always himself.

As a young kid, Dad dressed and fed me very creatively and embarrassingly. He insisted I wear a T-shirt under my clothes to stay warm. I was mortified. He was very creative in getting me to eat—colored marshmallows had multiple, innovative uses when it came to meal time. When I was six, I scowled at my plate and accused my dad of giving me “dinner food for breakfast.” In later years, Dad told this story often
with a grin and would admit, “It was true, she was right!” At preschool each day, I had a “goodie bag,” put together by Dad—his way of easing me into the routine of school.

Later, our best times together were spent cooking. Dad loved hearty soups and bread, and we’d make stews, split pea with hamhocks, chicken noodle soup, cinnamon rolls and round loaves of bread in Folgers coffee cans. He’d spend half the weekend preparing my favorite childhood food—barbeque ribs. Sunday dinners at noon with a guest or two were routine. He’s often make his famous burgers on the grill, making sure he cooked them just the way I liked—medium rare, “with a little pink in the middle.”

Dad loved to shop often for fun, impractical gifts and goodies for birthdays and holidays. I had the first Lite Brite in the neighborhood. Dad bought me my first yo-yo and set of Klackers (Remember those—two noisy glass balls on a string?), a fancy crêpe pan that not only cooked the crêpes, but folded them perfectly in half before sliding them onto the plate, fancy, fizzy fireworks on the 4th of July, no-skid kid socks with toes when they first came out and my first record player, in the shape of a planet. Dad never forgot a box of chocolates, always in the shape of a heart, every Valentine’s Day.

Dad was a charmer, provider and protector down to the end. He insisted on giving me money long after I really needed it. Well into my 30s, he’d fill my car with gas, and even from his hospital bed, would push a couple of $20s at me, insisting I, “take a friend to dinner.” Dad never ever stopped telling me to button up my coat. During his last months in rehab and even though he seldom drank it, he fought for his right to have a beer. He had his physician write a prescription allowing him one beer per day, and the staff kept it in the refrigerator with his name on it. He had also had the nurses around his finger. Once, during a visit around the shift change, I arrived to visit with Dad as a nurse came by to say goodbye and give him, “just a quick kiss on the forehead!”

Here’s to my dad and to dads everywhere—Happy Father’s Day!

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