I love Father’s Day. I love what it’s about, who it celebrates, the activity of the day, where the activity takes place. I love everything about it.
Here’s how Father’s Day goes for me. I make arrangements to take my Daddy to the Fair, since Father’s Day has always landed during some portion of our county fair. I put $100 cash in my pocket and my Daddy and I meet at the off-site parking about 45 minutes prior to the opening of Fair. We take the shuttle (it’s free so I don’t have to waste any of my cash), and we are dropped off at the front gate. I have special passes, so we can get in before the “regular people.” The deal is we stay for as long ad Daddy wants to, seeing everything we like to see (familiar favorites and exciting new things), eating everything he wants to all day and I pay – so you can see why I need $100 cash!
The last time we went to the Fair on Father’s Day, we started off at about 9:30 AM at the Country Fair Cinnamon Roll stand, getting our cinnamon rolls and coffee before the crowds came flooding through the gates. We found a clean, quiet table to sit and enjoy the beautiful beach morning in June and begin our day right with the best cinnamon rolls around! After some initial nourishment, we walked (holding hands just like we used to when I was little, this is actually one of my most cherished parts of the day) through the flower show, the best one around and so beautiful. We walked through the two of the exhibit halls to listen to the pitch for the slicer/dicer, the amazing shammy cloth, the extendable ladder and more.
By 11 AM, it’s time for our next feeding, this time Hot Dog on a Stick. Now, mind you, this is not just a corn dog but an actual Hot Dog on a Stick – a big difference as far as I am concerned. We order our hot dogs, cheese sticks and lemonades (cherry lemonade for me!) Savory and delicious with a little ketchup and mustard for the dog, the cheese stick a la natural (more on this in the future.) We walk around some of the competitive exhibits – gems and minerals to visit my step-mom (she’s volunteering there all day), design in wood, industrial education, home arts and livestock.
Now it’s about 12:30/1 PM and Daddy’s ready to try something new, the Australian battered potatoes. I just try one of his, because I’m starting to need more time between feedings! We find a picnic table and enjoy some local dance group on the community stage. Then it’s off to the infield. Walking over the bridge (I need this!) and seeing all the Kids' Best displays, the vendors out there and contemplating the wonderful smelling BBQ that is grilling and making our mouths water. But alas, Daddy decides he needs a little more walking around before our next culinary adventure.
By about 3 PM, it’s time for our next tasty treat. We head to Grant’s for tasty chips with cheese sauce – oohhhh! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! They are essentially homemade potato chips, deep-fried to perfection with a creamy cheesy sauce ladled all over them, so delicious! We each have our own boat. We are sitting at a picnic bench and a couple comes by to ask if they can share the picnic table, since tables are getting scarcer at this point of the day, and we welcome them. Daddy and I start talking about what our “dinner” is going to be, as we are eating our tasty chips, the couple is kind of looking as us a little funny. We turn our attention to them and explain what we are doing today – Father’s Day, Daddy/daughter, eating our way through the fair, me trying to keep up and all my treat. They just think that is a wonderful story and tradition. We savor our last tasty chips and pick up to move on. We visit some new exhibits. There is a contest that sounds like fun that we go watch, we stop by gems and minerals again to check-in, and continue to talk about dinner.
Now it’s about 5 PM, and we decided we were done, we just needed dessert. We stopped by the Gingerbread House for me, I had a gingerbread man cookie, and I think Daddy had some ice cream from another stand. Our legs were wearing out, our bellies were starting to question our culinary adventure, and the breeze was picking up so it was starting to get cool. So we went and met up with my step-mom, as her day was over too, collected our souvenirs and headed toward the shuttle to go home.
Purely by coincidence, you can see from the photo above that Daddy and I dressed a lot alike – straw hats, sunglasses, white t-shirts, khakis and white tennis shoes. The photo was taken at our 11 AM stop. I just think this is the dorkiest photo around, but I love this photo so much, and here’s why…..
This was the last Father’s Day we celebrated, June 1997. Daddy died suddenly the day after Christmas that year.
I’m not sure I would have done anything different that Father’s Day had I known it was the last one I would spend with him, because it was just so perfect. So us. It’s been 12 Father’s Days since that I have run through my memories of this day in my mind. I’m not sure that all the details are correct, but its how I remember it – eating, enjoying the Fair, holding hands with my Daddy, laughing and being together. The past few year’s I have been spending Father’s Day at our county fair again and have a hot dog on a stick to remember him.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you.
I miss you.