I remember once when we were visiting friends of our family, we were in the backyard playing badminton... it was hot and I asked him for a sip of his beer. I must have been like 11 or 12 years old. He let me have a sip and I remember not liking it.
One morning, when I was really young, my Mother woke us up and warned us that my Father had been in a fight the night before. He got punched in the face by some thieves breaking into a car in downtown Montreal. He thought they locked themselves out of their car and checked to see if they needed help. Not his brightest moment. He was greeted with a punch to the face, breaking his dentures and causing a deep cut above one of his eyes that required stitches. For weeks, while he waited for new dentures, he had to eat soft food. He got the soft toast in the morning. He called it his "wallopy bit".
His favourite beer was Molson Export.
He had THE smelliest feet ever. After a day of work, his feet could stop a herd of bull elephants in their tracks. And kill them.
He had a mole, dead center, on his back. It looked like a Jelly Tot stuck to his back.
I remember the first time my Dad said "Fuck". We were driving in our car and some kid threw a snowball at it. It startled him and he said something like "What the fuck was that?". It was eerily quiet in the car after that, when he realized what he said. The second time I heard him say it was when I visited him at work one day. Someone came into his office to ask about some changes on a set of plans, or something like that, and he mumbled "They don't know what the fuck they're talking about..."
My Dad was my best man at my wedding. On the morning of my wedding, I was sitting in the Minister's office talking to the Minister while we waited for my Dad to arrive. He was late. Apparently, in all of the confusion of who was driving who, and when, my Dad was forgotten. When he finally arrived, he rushed into the Minister's office, wiping the sweat from his brow, and said "Jesus, it's hot out there!" He then noticed the Minister, remembered where he was, and said “Oops… sorry!”. The Minister responded, "That's ok, we say that a lot around here."
He would always wear his kilt on New Year's Eve. I have a picture somewhere of him wearing it to walk our dog, one New Year's Eve.
I remember cutting off all contact with him after he left my Mother and all of their debts. As a result, he never got to meet either of my children. He lived in Louisiana, so it wasn't too difficult. Still, it’s not something I’m proud of.
I remember calling him when he was in the hospital, in the days before he passed away, and letting him speak with his 3½ year-old grandson for the first time. It was also the last time. I heard later that he was so happy.
My Dad passed away after a very short battle with liver cancer and all the hell that goes in December 1998. If you have a few bucks to spare, please make a donation in support of my participation in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life scheduled for June 18th. Any amount is greatly appreciated, thanks!