happy father's day

Growing up, my parents didn't make a fuss about their own birthdays, or Mother's Day, or Father's Day (altho each parent would be really good about helping us choose gifts for the other spouse: I've got three weeks of diary entries, aged 10, agonising over whether the nightgown and bathrobe set we'd chosen with my dad for my mother would go over big on Mother's Day, and the huge relief that 'she seemed to really like it.')

And Mr. Dot's parents are the same. So I had totally forgot til today that it was Father's Day, here, and in the States as well.

Where do I begin about my father. He looked like a cross between Cary Grant and Paul McCartney, had the wit and intelligence and charm of George Clooney and Paul Newman, who he came to resemble more in later years. Oh and very much the courtesy and kindness of Michael Palin.

In these shots, with his grandson (my nephew) Anders, he's wearing a jacket that is unlike his style. I don't remember him wearing red, his colours, like mine, were usually neutral, or shades of blue or turquoise (I've got a lot of his clothes: a great rust suede classic fifties bomber jacket, for example).

His style was pretty classic, but frankly, he'd look good in a plastic bag. He was physically fit, active, not at all obsessed about his appearance, not at all vain, but his hair was always perfectly parted, and neatly combed. Which is ironic that in these shots I took of them, it was mussed: probably by the wind, or playing with Anders. He was very much a hands on dad, an avid swimmer, tennis player, gardener (he was the original 'organic gardener', importing bugs in boxes from Japan that he explained were 'good bugs' who ate the 'bad bugs' in lieu of pesticides - everything he did, I'm realising now, was ahead of his time), enthusiastic amateur cook (he'd made these massive projects, like saving up stale bread to make bread pudding), a gifted teacher, professor, author, community leader, and he taught me so much, simply by being there to listen and support me. Every time life bumped me around a bit, he'd ask what was the 'learning experience'.

My father left this world on September 14th, 2003, but he has never left our family. He is a daily presence in our lives. And I know he hasn't left the countless friends he made along the way: he's just one of those magic people that touches everyone he meets. And I know that he is watching over me, and my sister and brother and of course, my mother, because when I did a search for these photos above, somehow an image by someone I do not know, with a file name that is just a series of numbers, appeared on my laptop:

The Buddhists believe we come back in human form over and over until we get it right. My last words to my father, who loved flying and wanted to be a pilot in World War Two, but who was too young, was to please come back and visit us again, as a bird. I see him all the time: he seems to be everywhere, watching over us.

Every time I see a father and daughter with that magic bond, I feel more sure than ever that whatever that bond is, it transcends our lives on this earth.

Happy Father's Day, dear Dad, and thank you.


jungleworldcitizen said...

You are very lucky =)
Happy father's day to your dad ;)
Have a great Sunday!

Vanessa said...

This is a beautiful post. No more words can describe it better than that. Beuatiful.

whoah! The Birds and the face. Yes, the Buddhist belief than a person will be reborn, into a situation that rewards them for the good they've done in their past life, until they reach enlightenment. It's such an interesting concept, which fascinated me a lot.

xx Vanessa

Tobi said...

He looks so handsome! I am sure he indeed in awe of the wonderful woman that you are and the wonderful woman that I respect so much (even though I haven't known you for that long! ). I completely agree with your last statement 100&! Today seems to be blog fathers day lol we did a fathers day post as well lol x

EML said...

whar a lovely post! especially the buddhist theory. so optimistic.

everyone should consider themselves lucky to have their dad around. and please, let him know!

Olivia Isabella. said...

Touching post, it was lovely to read such positive and kind words about your father, he sounds like a fantastic man. Makes me feel I should have got more than a card for my father... But we went on a cycle ride and I think he preferred that!
UO x

the style crusader said...

Jill, this post is absolutely beautiful. I'm so glad you put together a post on your dad. I think you look like him in a way. beautiful words and these shots are really incredible too. thanks for sharing them. xx

Adele said...

Lovely post :)

- Adèle
moltocuriosa.com ♥

The Photodiarist said...

Beyond amazing post. I lost my Dad a few years ago as well. I am still not over it and can cry within seconds of thinking about how awesome he was and how much I miss him. He left the world way too young. But I am glad I had him in my life for the time that I did. He was the best Dad I could have ever ever asked for. Ever. So I feel close to you at this moment because I get the sense you felt the same way about your Dad. (You look like him as well).

So, I sign off with tears in my eyes. Thank you Jill for such a beautiful post.

Susan said...

what an amazingly beautiful post, darling. you are so lucky, your dad must have been awesome.
happy father's day to him :)

JessMidge said...

this is a really lovely read,
i think we should all appreciate our parents more!

Matthew Spade said...

wonderful post, really nice read. and that image is just perfect, never seen anything like it. i'm sadly one of the people that's never met their dad.

Leah said...

What a fabulous tribute to your dad Jill. He is quite a looker, he looks like a movie star. xoxo

Anonymous said...

I think your openness and generosity of spirit is at the heart of what makes this such a lovely blog. My darling daddy died when I was seventeen, a long time ago now. I still miss him and think of him and I know after this many years that I always will. Your dad sounds like another lovely man. I found this very moving. Thank you.
Lu x

polka dot said...

Thank YOU, Lu. Thank you all.

sending you all much love,
Dot xx

Clazzerati said...

Such a lovely post. I lost my father last year and really thought i'd struggle yesterday but i actually felt very happy that i'd had so many wonderful days with him. It is so hard to lose a parent at any age, but they are always with us.

Clara xx

Style Odyssey said...

Oh Jill...This is quite possibly the most touching and beautiful tribute post I've ever read. I have chills reading it. I feel very blessed to still have my dear father alive and well. Father's Day is just another day (I'm not much on holidays myself) but it must be especially bittersweet to now remember the day, and your father who left this life a few years ago. The way you describe him, he must have been the ideal dad. And just from knowing you a short time, it's evident that your dad shaped your personality and character traits in so many wonderful ways!


Anonymous said...

So touching, almost heart-stopping feeling. I know your Dad is smiling from Heaven to see how you have honored him.

Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful, Jill. Your testimonial to your dad is the best gift a daughter could give a father. And truthfully, you've reincarnated him through the photographs in your bog site, taken with his old camera. And, oh, the birds! - L