Each year as the third Sunday in June approaches, I get a little wistful. My parents split up many years ago, as parents so often do these days, around the time I discovered Boone's Farm and fruit punch-flavored Zima. (Remember that stuff? I'm still convinced teenage girls were their target demographic.) A few years after that my dad moved back to his home state, a land where there are more cornfields than cocktail bars, and now I don't get to see him but once in a blue moon.
The fondest memories I do have of my father all seem to revolve around food and drink. For as long as I can remember, my dad has worked in the restaurant industry, be it owning, managing, or, in later years, as a corporate bigwig -- so food was always a hot topic in our household.
Every day he'd come home from work around 6 p.m. and promptly pour himself a drink, still clad in his dark suit and tie. I can distinctly remember the way it sounded: the clinking as he'd fill a glass with a handful of ice and the crackling as he poured his favorite whiskey on the rocks, then topped it off with a splash of water from the faucet.
At night after everyone else went to bed, I'd sneak out to the living room and we'd watch Letterman and eat ice cream; cashew caramel crunch straight out of the half-gallon tub for him, double chocolate chip for me. We'd laugh out loud at Dave's nightly top 10 list, and eventually I'd retreat to my bedroom with chocolate stains on my kitten-printed nightgown, my wake-up call for school coming entirely too early after staying up so late. It didn't matter, though -- that was quality time to be relished.
These days, on the rare occasions we're able to get together, we're more likely to go for alcohol than ice cream. I'll take him to one of my favorite watering holes, nothing too fancy. Dewar's for him, a gin and tonic for me. More often than not, the conversation turns to food, that one subject on which we can always relate. We talk about what we've been eating, what we've been cooking, how each of our respective jobs are going.
So while I won't have the privilege of seeing my dad this Father's Day, I will be raising a glass in his honor. I'll take comfort in the fact that 1,000 miles away, there's a good chance that he too is seated at a bar, drink in hand, and maybe, just maybe, he's also reminiscing about times we've spent together.
This weekend, if you're lucky to live within driving distance of your dad, you might consider taking him out for a nice glass of scotch, maybe a tasty local craft brew, or hell, a Bud Light if that's his thing. It's less about what's in your glass and more about taking the time to sit down together and share a conversation, a ritual, a memory.
Here's to you, Dad.