My family, Part 1: Papa

For the next few posts – not necessarily consecutively – I would like to share some things about my family.  I’ve never written anything about my family except for a sentence here and there in a letter.  That seems a shame because my family is very important to me.  We have a very close relationship and I value that tremendously. 

Today’s post is about my father.

I call him “Papa.”  I remember in junior high school and high school thinking that it wasn’t cool to call him that because everyone called their dads “Dad.” I’m ashamed to admit that I would avoid saying his name because I didn’t want people to know that’s what I called him.  I now say it with pride because he is Papa.  He’s not dad or daddy or any other term of familiarity.  He is Papa.  My Papa.  (my sister & I pronounce it Pupa)  Do you know how hard it is to find a Father’s Day card that doesn’t have “Dad” or “Daddy” or “Father” on it??

Papa is very career driven.  He’s been a hard-working man for as long as I’ve known him.  Work has always been a very important thing to him.  Congratulations to him because as of a few weeks ago, he is officially retired! He deserves it.  He’s work very hard for a very long time!  He claims that he’s not going to work until at least January.  We’ll see…

When my father turned 50, we threw him a surprise birthday party under the guise of a Father’s Day brunch.  He was very surprised.  Seeing the shock and happiness on his face made me cry. For the party, we asked everyone to contribute what we called a “Papa-ism.”  My father has a repetoire of sayings, his own words, etc.  He uses them everyday in any situation.  Anyone who has met him has experienced a Papa-ism, so we had the walls filled with contributions.  Let me give you a sampling:

** as an affirmative response to a question: “Does a bear have hair? Does the sun set in the west? Is a pig’s pork butt?” 

** Gringo Macho! = just an exclamatory statement

** Doe-pop = someone got hit (i.e., He got doe-popped by that apple that fell out of the tree.)

** when disputing a statement I or my sister would make: “What do you know about the price of the tea in China?”

** Chariott = his car

** when watch someone or something (like an animal) doing something odd: “What is he auditioning for?”

Whenever my sister or I had a date or a new boyfriend, the key to whether Papa liked him was simply: did he give them a nickname?  My sister’s first three boyfriends were Hermie, Hermie 2, and Hermie 3 (their real names were Keith, Brad & Jon… I’m not sure where Hermie came from).  When she met my now brother-in-law he was immediatly called Vino Tino.  Good sign.  My first serious boyfriend didn’t get a nickname.  That should have been the tip off right there.  Wade had a nickname before Papa even met him: Wade-la-roo. 

Papa will look at you out of the top of his glasses if he disapproves or disagrees with something.  Even though I’m 29 and my sister is 33, he still is hesitant to offer us wine with dinner (and he’ll pour about half as much for us as he will for our husbands).  He compliments my mother on a regular basis.  When I was little he was my “dentist” when I had a tooth that was loose.  He doesn’t swear.  (He took me to Boston once while he had to work.  On the way there he tried to explain why he had to go to Boston.  I didn’t get it so he summed it up by saying, “I’m going to sue their ass.” That is the closest thing to a swear I’ve heard from him.) He plays golf whenever he can and his mood will be determined by his score.  He took me to a father-daughter dance in elementary school.  When we got to the school, we turned around and went home to change because we were under-dressed! He didn’t care for cats much until we adopted a boy cat – he became his “son.” I can only assume he was as great with my sister and me as he is with my two nephews.  He clearly loves them dearly and unconditionally.  At my wedding, we danced to The Beatles “In My Life.” I cried the whole time, especially when he sang to me.  Then he told me that neither of us were very good at the singing part and it made me laugh. 

He’s a great man and I love him. 


~ by zuzu on October 2, 2007.

5 Responses to “My family, Part 1: Papa”

  1. That was the sweetest thing ever. I got teary!

  2. I try to avoid tears at work, but I have to make exceptions for things this nice. Great post!

  3. I’ve only met him a couple of times and I can vouch for the coolness. And, hey, I’m curious, I was there with my wife and you have Wade, but, did I get a nickname?! 😉

  4. So sweet–aren’t you lucky to have him!

  5. […] walked into the family room and Papa was asleep in his chair.  He was slouched down, but I thought nothing of it because he had […]

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