To dance with my father again …

My father passed away in 1991. Bad as it may seem, I hope he was called to task over things he did during his life. I know he was a sick man. But call it what you wish … regret that these things happened, or whatever … he was the only father I ever knew. Yet he was “given” to me by adoption.

Today is Father’s Day and as I sit here, if he was here sitting in the same room, I would thank him for a few things. So since I cannot do that, I chose to do it here.

Pop, I wanted to thank you for teaching me about tools and woods and gardening and cars. You started when I was about 8, letting me tag along and explaining why the right saw made a difference, why to use oak instead of pine or why to prime before glossing. You had me changing oil and tires as soon as I could loosen bolts. You taught me about beautiful plants that were so poisonous that one berry could kill. I owe you my thanks.

You took me with you when you would go to Ybor City to get your hand-rolled cigars, to The Columbian or Las Novidadas for black bean soup, chicken and yellow rice and warm Cuban bread. I remember the gnarled hands that smoothed the dark tobacco leaves, shaping them into a cigar, just for you. Your smile when the large box with a hinged lid was pushed across the counter to you and the barely audible whisper from you saying I could have the one at home to hide treasures in. I owe you my thanks.

For teaching me through ways that filled me with hate, yet made me stronger and more caring to the women I have loved and the beautiful lady that is so much a part of my life now … that women should always be treated with respect, spoiled, cherished and not abused in ANY way. I owe you my thanks.

But of ALL these things, the one thing I would thank you for, the one thing that might just make me open my arms and give you a hug … that thing is this …
you taught me to dance. How to take a woman in my arms and lead her round the dance floor. Saturday nights meant Lawrence Welk on TV and it may seem strange to some of you, but I have loved music from a very young age. So this was a good show.

I remember at about the age of 10 or 11 asking my father to show me how to dance. He laughed at first but when he saw I was serious, he started my “weekly lessons”. He would lead me round the room, explaining why he gently pushed against the small of my back or guided a turn by subtle movements of my hand which he held in his. Then he would step back and I would ask my mother to dance. I would take his place and lead her and he would critique me.

For THAT, I owe you my most sincere thanks, Pops. I am so thankful you taught me to dance so that the lady I love and I can share priceless moments dancing to songs we love. For THAT, I owe you my most sincere thanks, Pops. I wish things had been better, but I think you would be proud of me now. This song is for you.

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