One of the most precious memories of my young childhood, when I was knee high to a grasshopper, was when my Dad would pick me up and dance with me, especially after work. It seemed extra special to be up when almost everyone else slept. He managed movie theaters, so he often got home well after midnight, particularly in the summer. Drive-Inns were still cool in those days. One could see a double feature for the price of one! Anyway, when my dad came roaring up in with his 1965 Mustang Square back, it usually woke me up! My mom enjoyed after midnight snacks. Her favorite ones were the cheap tacos from Jack in the Box. Can you believe that they were a nickle each back in the Stone Age of my youth?!
If Daddy was in a good mood, and I heard the rustle of a bag, I would call out. “Hi Dad! I love you! I love you too, Mommy,” not wishing her to feel left out. Sometimes, Mommy would put on the radio if she knew I was awake. I remember this particular occasion quite well!
I was about 3 or 4 years old. Daddy came into my room and said, “What’s up, Snicklefritz!’That was a nickname he had for me. I looked up the word on Google; snicklefritz is a word from the Pennsylvania Dutch culture. It refers to an exuberant, mischievous kid who is very chatty as well. That description fit me in those days. I gave Daddy a bright smile as he picked me up. I was named Kathy, after all. A popular doll was named Chatty Cathy at that time, so just perhaps, I lived up to that name as well!
He had me giggling in no time as he whirled me around and around to the music. I caught sight of Mommy in the doorway. She had a genuinely beautiful smile! I loved that smile! For one moment in time I didn’t think of my Cerebral Palsy – the fact that I was unable to walk. I was free as a bird and free of my wheelchair. I was just a little girl sharing a special time with her daddy – Big John! It seemed that although I lacked the ability to move my legs and feet well, I had a hyperactive, precocious mind. Suddenly I said, “Daddy, I am so light on my feet! He had a marvelous roar of a laugh – a big belly laugh that shook his whole body and a snort or two was mixed in it. I loved to make him laugh because it made him happy. Dad laughed so hard and for so long that he almost had to put me down.
I knew it was a special moment for Daddy too because he recounted it to many of his friends for years to come with that same wonderful belly laugh! When my daughter whirled around with her Daddy, my husband, about the same age, I felt the same surge of joy when he danced around the room with her. It just goes to show that it can be a fantastic thing when history repeats itself! Have a great Father’s Day Pops! Sending my love up to you!