My Dad Has No Rhythm, Yet He Is Master Of The Dance

This post was my Father’s Day gift to my Dad last year.  It is one of my (and my readers’) favorites.

I love you, Dad!

My Dad is the one in the snappy, plaid jacket.

My Dad sired 9 children.  He then topped that accomplishment by staying around, with our Mom, to raise every one of us.   For that reason alone, he deserves to be Father of The Year.

Not convinced?  Here are a few things you should know about him.

My Dad…

can clear a room quicker than you can say National Geographic.  Not because of poor hygiene or a less-than-winning personality, but because of his TV viewing habits.

All us kids would be piled into our tiny sunroom watching The Monkees or Get Smart on TV Dad would come in, squat next to the set and start flipping the dial.  (This was in the dark days before remotes.)  He would come upon a fascinating National Geographic special on plate tectonics and there he would stay.   We all groaned, rolled our eyes, exclaimed “Da-a-ad!” and left the room.  If we were old enough to do so, we flounced out.

As he squatted next to the set, chewing his nails and staring raptly at the educational program du jour, we would hear his voice faintly, fading as we scattered through our big, old house “Hey, don’t you want to watch this?  This is really interesting!”

should have joined the Navy.  He bought his first boat when we were young kids.  This started a life-long love affair second only to the one he shares with my Mom.   I loved the family trips, especially to Mackinac Island each summer.

Each new boat was bigger than the last, and all the early ones were wood.   When I think of how much of my life was spent in the boat shed, stripping varnish off metal trim and sticking Coopernal-ed toothpicks into screw holes, all I can say is… Dad, I forgive you.

is one of the smartest people I know.  Too smart.  He was always ready to help with math homework, but his explanation would sail right over your head.  After just a few minutes, your eyes would glaze over.  We’d say, “Thanks, Dad, I get it now.” and he would walk away, mission accomplished.  He never suspected we would call a friend for help as soon as he left the room.

He has taught celestial navigation for years, a skill I greatly admire even though the topic makes me glaze over worse than math.

has no rhythm that I’ve noticed, but is the Master of the Dance.  He is best known for The Mosquito Ballet.

On sultry summer nights when we were very little, the windows and the balcony door in our bedroom would be opened to catch any stray breezes.  Somehow the mosquitoes always got in to plague us.  Dad to the rescue.  Wearing a sappy expression and brandishing a fly swatter, he would leap and pirouette about the room, chasing the pesky bugs.   We stood in our cribs and beds, flushed and sweating in diapers and t-shirts,  shrieking with laughter, the sound floating out into the hot, still nights.

is a Yankee Doodle Dandy.   Not because of his patriotism, though he is a proud and loyal American, but because of his zeal for the 4th of July.

My Dad loves fireworks with the pure joy of a child.

As my brothers got older they bought fireworks, most from the lawless land of Indiana, to set off in the driveway.  Dad half-heartedly endorsed Mom’s edict to stop because those things “were just too dangerous”, but you could tell only the strictest discipline kept him from elbowing the boys aside to light the fuses himself.

To this day, almost every 4th of July, Dad and some of the family take the boat down the river to watch the fireworks over the water.  That’s the only way to see them.

tells a shaggy dog story with the best of them.   There’s a real art to telling the long, involved joke known as the shaggy dog.  Dad has great delivery, no doubt. The problem is remembering the whole story.  Early on, he developed a system.  He wrote down his best material and kept the notes tucked in the front pocket of his shirt.

Our parents used to host cocktail and dinner parties pretty often when we were kids.  Dad would duck into a corner, surreptitiously refer to his notes, and then sally forth to slay the crowd with his latest gems.

All his shirts still have pockets, and they still bulge with papers.  I know for a fact most of those papers are jokes, now sent by friends via that new, joke-passing technology, email.

is a devout man.  He spent years in the seminary before deciding the priesthood was not for him.  But his faith and devotion to God have been constants in his life; something he and Mom passed on to their children.

When we were kids, we said family prayers almost every night.  As I entered my teens, I must admit that I didn’t have quite the appreciation for this ritual that I have now, in retrospect.

Sometimes, in the middle of our devotions, one of my brothers would let one fly: pass gas, fart, release the Silent-But-Deadly hounds of hell.  Of course we all started giggling, then looked guiltily to our parents.  They tried to maintain the mood.  But more often than not, Dad would lose it.  He’d start laughing.  It was that highly contagious laughter that you couldn’t resist.  We all joined in, laughing until we were leaning on the couch, crying.  When it was obvious this train was not going to get back on the holy track, he’d waive us weakly from the room.

Prayers called on account of laughter. I think God understood.

At 83, his ballet jumps aren’t what they once were.  The boat will probably be sold this year.  But Dad still teaches others how to navigate by the stars.   He worked hard every day of his life to provide for us.   He still tells a great shaggy dog story, and loves and supports God, my Mom and the rest of his family.   For these reasons and more, I’m sure you’ll agree that the Father of the Year Award should go to – my Dad.

What’s that you say?  My Dad sounds great, but you’d like to nominate someone else – maybe your dad?  Fair enough.

If you’re blessed to still be able to do so, join me in telling each of our nominees for Father of the Year:

Thanks Dad.

I love you.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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54 Responses to My Dad Has No Rhythm, Yet He Is Master Of The Dance

  1. Oh my! This is one of the best tributes I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks so much for sharing your dad with us all.


  2. Tori Nelson says:

    The image of your dad dancing for mosquitoes is priceless. You’ve got one great papa!


  3. Oh, this is one of my faves of yours. Happy Father’s Day to him!


    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks, Darla. I’m sure this day will be bittersweet for you – missing your wonderful dad, but having your husband who is such a great dad to your kids.


      • It does make me a bit sad, but then I’m more grateful I even had a dad like mine for those 21 years. We are very blessed, aren’t we, Peg? enjoy your weekend! Work on Tar getting her blog going…


  4. Roly says:

    Cherish the time you still have together


  5. Beautiful! Memories like these are what family is made of…


  6. Al says:

    That’s a cool dad! Lost my dad at age 19 but the good memories still linger.


  7. Janu says:

    Just beautiful, Peg!


  8. Audrey says:

    This is really touching! He sounds like an amazing father. Happy Father’s Day to your dad!


  9. Off the Wall says:

    My dad has been gone now for over thirty years. My entire extended family STILL talks about him all the time. He was the type that would take 13 kids to the local pub on vacation for cokes and tell the bartender “My doctor told me I could never have children”. He would do cheer with me and my friends in front of our picture window. He was the paddle ball king and would borrow ours and tell us he would not be responsible for any balls that come flying off.

    He was like the pied piper, everyone followed him around!

    Your dad sounds like a king too. You are so lucky to still have him, and I’m glad you know that!


  10. k8edid says:

    I never knew my dad growing up, and had a hideous stepfather, so I REALLY enjoy reading these delightful tributes and recognitions. Fortunately for me, I married someone who is a fantastic father – but I feel left out that I don’t have anyone to write a glowing and loving post about…thanks for sharing your dad with me today.


    • pegoleg says:

      Aw, Katy, I’m sorry about your stepdad. I read somewhere that we get 2 shots at a great parent/child relationship. I’m so happy you lined up a great experience for your own kids.


  11. What a beautiful gift for your dad, Peg. And I love that family picture! You are right to commend him for having nine children and sticking around. 🙂 He sounds like quite the guy. And unfortunately, I am all too familiar with the gripping quality of church giggles. I’m glad you reposted it. It’s worthy of a Father’s Day tribute ever year!


  12. judithhb says:

    Love this tribute to your Dad. Mine too was one in a million. Always there for us girls and always cheering us on and filling us with enthusiasm for the next adventure/challenge. He died some years ago at the ripe old age of 94, still with all his faculties except his eyesight but that didn’t slow him down one bit. Thanks for sharing Peg. 😀


  13. Dad says:

    Thank you. Peg. You have left me with many great memories, too. Love you. Dad


  14. What a lovely post! He sounds like a very good man!


  15. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    He’s wonderful. Nine children and he could still keep his sense of humor? Wow.


  16. crampmystyle says:

    This was so touching! Humorous and thoughtful at the same time. Great post!


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  19. goodoldgirl says:

    Just a short note to let you know I’ve nominated you for The Lovely Blog Award.


  20. brennagrimes says:

    Happy Father’s day to you & your Dad. Lovely post.


  21. Dana says:

    What a great tribute, Peg. The description of your dad’s pirouettes totally slayed me. 🙂
    (And how awesome is it that, at 83 or 84 years old, he COMMENTED ON YOUR BLOG! Way to be tech-savvy, Peg’s dad!)


  22. Your dad sounds like a great guy, Peg!
    With excellent taste in programming! Sounds fascinating to me (although your dad would probably have to try to explain the whole thing to me several times).
    Me: “So… the earth’s crust is made up of… dinnerware?”


  23. Go Jules Go says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you reposted this! Your dad is spectacular. He and your mom must get along great, because you said she’s always passing along articles, etc. The jokes in the pocket and laughing at the passing gas in church have got me giggling away. It’s so wonderful when kids get to see their parents let down their guard a little.


  24. Angie Z. says:

    Such a great tribute, Peg! What a guy! I read some of these dad items and thought, that sounds like Peg! Chip off the ol’ block, you are.

    How immature am I that I also would laugh at boys farting through an evening prayer.


  25. Lenore Diane says:

    I did not go through the comments … does he still have the boat?!
    I heart your Dad, Peg. I found similarities between your Dad and mine, though my Dad was not a religious sort. In fact, one Sunday he actually went to church with us, because friends were in town. When the minister asked if we had any visitors, our friend stood up an introduced my Dad. It was HILARIOUS!!! Yep. My Dad was kinda awesome. I miss him.


  26. I can see why this is one of your readers’ favorite posts, because it’s now one of mine as well.


  27. pattisj says:

    Nice, Peg. He must be very proud of his family.


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