America • civic culture/friendship • Post • the family

Missing Dad and Taking Stock This Christmas

This will be the second Christmas holiday without my father. Although I miss him every day—we used to talk on the phone, like clockwork, at 9:30 every morning—I think I miss the cantankerous old coot the most on the big holidays.

Dad could be—how to put this?—difficult. I’m in the opinion-writing business. Most things are debatable. My father was in the certainty business. An engineer by trade and disposition (if you’ve ever known an engineer, you’ll know what I mean), he liked things a certain way, and that way was always his way, and his way was always the right way, and if it wasn’t right, he would make sure it was somehow or another.

In his prime, he cooked the turkey and he cooked the roast. He ruled the table. He knew everything. We had some great fights . . .

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