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Friday, August 31, 2012

"Love, Dad"

     My dad likes to talk.  The phrase "Stranger Danger" means nothing to him.  I constantly turn around in a restaurant or store to find him talking to strangers as if they care.  His conversation ranges from random facts about my brothers and me to the weather, current events, or even their clothing.  I have heard him tell a perfect stranger lady, "That's a nice blouse.  My wife has one just like it!"  Two nights ago John and I went to Newk's to eat with my parents and brother, and at the end of the meal my dad got up to get take home boxes.  Ten minutes later we all wondered where he had gone and looked over to see him talking with someone.   His mother once told a story about how when he was around 7 years old he walked down the road and befriended the elderly people who sat outside on their porches.  A few times he brought them home with him for dinner, until she asked him to stop the random dinner guests.  However, he talks much longer to people in person than on the phone, so I don't usually mind his phone conversations.  He leaves funny voice mail messages if I don't answer.  I'm not sure why my cute old dad leaves me voice mail messages as if I do not know he is the one calling from the fact that my phone tells me I've missed a call from him and I have a voice mail from him.  Really, it's hilarious and I love it.  Here's an example of one of his voice mails:

    "Hi Kelly, it's Dad.  I was just calling to check on you and see how you're doing.  I haven't heard from you in a few days and I just wanted to hear about what's going on with you guys. How's Jonah?  You always talk to Mom and I'm out of the loop, so anyways, call me when you get a chance.  Okay, bye. Love, Dad."

     This cracks me up every single time.  I replay it back just to hear his cute little handwritten letter style ending "Love, Dad." It's adorable.  I think if my dad was an old dude in church who didn't have a family, I would adopt him.  He's got that lovable goofiness quality that just says like a lost puppy, "Take me home with you." But once you get him home you'll realize he eats a lot and talks a lot, and doesn't know when to leave. In his honor, I have written below an "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" copycat.

     Now he's a grown man and all, and he's put on a few pounds since retiring from the Air Force, but I think he's cute in his own old chubby kind of way.  He's cuddly like I'd imagine a pet polar bear might be.  His hair is all silver and white now but he keeps a pretty good tan which makes his blue eyes stand out. When he laughs he has some sparkle to those eyes, even when he's laughing at his own jokes (which happens rather often).   Back to our phone conversations.  I call him back soon after hearing his little message and he goes through a little de-breifing about every member of our household.  He proceeds to tell me all about my prodigal-son type brother's latest shenanigans and how upset he is about him, then on to his latest workplace desk rearranging and moving and happenings, and then on to how late my mother is working (she's a school nurse, and they get over worked, underpaid, and under-appreciated much like school teachers), and then tells me about my other brother's most recent sarcasm and awkward social interaction.  I guess I should find all of this depressingly captivating and amazing, but the way he just sort of complains about it all makes me feel a little sorry for him.  Yes, one brother makes ridiculously immature choices and decisions.  Yes, Mom works hard.  Yes, the other brother is funny with his weird anti-social quirks.  No, we don't have to be upset about all of them. Sometimes it's OK to just say "It is what it is, and I love them all anyway."  I know that's just how he is though, and I love him and his funny conversations.  I know that when he worries about us it is his way of saying 'I love you.'  I hope that as Jonah grows I can trust God and not worry about him (much). 
     Now, I have to say that this excessive talking is only one part of his personality.  He is a giving, generous, loving, affectionate, complimentary, really sweet guy.  He started giving me Valentine's Day cards and presents when I was 10 years old.  He never forgets a holiday or birthday or a chance to show he cares.  Today he treated my mom and me to a "spa day" complete with 'Aromatherapy Massage, Manicure, and Pedicure' for her birthday.  He really is a wonderful dad, who just happens to have a little case of the chit-chats. 

If you give a Ketchel a glance,
he may ask you how you're doing.
If you tell him you're doing just fine,
he will tell you about his family.
Even if you don't ask to see pictures,
he'll pull out his phone and show you some.
If you cross your arms and nod your head,
he will just keep talking.
If you happen to pass by him again later on,
he'll ask you how you've been since you last saw him.
If you ask any question at all,
he'll spend the next twelve to twenty minutes answering in detail.
If you ask him for help on something,
he will gladly try his best to hook you up.
If you give him your phone number,
he probably won't call you unless you're related.
But if he sees you in public,
he will be happy to stop everything to catch up.
If you ask him how he's doing,
he will spend a long time answering you.
If you stay there to listen to him,
he may ask you how you're doing.

I love my daddy!

From my wedding day, October 4, 2008.

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