Some called my dad, “Happy Jack”.
And a happy fellow he was.
But he wasn’t quite like the other dads on the block.
Putting a hammer or fishing pole in his hands would surely put you at risk.
Dad’s passions ran more towards community, family, and friends.
Always a people person even though I knew he was a little shy.
Dad’s jobs in advertising and public relations gave him unique opportunities that his kids thought were pretty cool.
Like organizing ping pong drops by helicopters at shopping malls for promotion purposes. Each little ball caught by eager tiny hands below would win the toy or book neatly stamped on it.
And dad’s volunteer work in the community gave us the chance to meet personalities with names we’d only heard about on radio or TV.
Like politicians and actors who came to town to appear in festivals and ride in parades. I was taught early to play hostess to my favorite childhood stars like Captain Kangaroo when Dad was busy.
The Captain, played by Bob Keeshan, was on network television in the ’50s to the early ’90s.
Looking back, it’s no surprise that the we spent so much of our time together with other people.
Like visiting with my piano playing grandmother, staff, and the other residents in the memory unit of her care facility every Saturday morning.
He’d charm each and every one.
And also those sweet ladies generously giving out free samples to us at the grocery store afterwards.
He’d bring smiles to their faces, too.
Mom always seemed to wonder what took us so long.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Dad this week, ever since driving by Grandma’s old care facility on my way to an art class.
And again when I met up with two pleasant Wisconsin restauranteurs giving free samples at the same grocery store where I used to shop with Dad every week.
On their sample menu were wild Swedish lingonberries on pancakes.
My dad sure loved his ritual of weekend pancakes.
And his loving Scandinavian wife.
One of the restauranteurs went on to tell me their restaurant keeps goats on the grass roof in the summer to graze and amaze visitors. And they have for years.
The restaurant even has a goat cam and the lucky animals enjoy a summer parade.
Now those are the kind of promotions Dad would have adored.
I bought myself one big jar of those wild berries.
So this Father’s Day in honor of both my folks, and their kids (who are now old goats themselves), I’ll be enjoying delicious lingonberries on pancakes.
And this goat ‘Wacky Jackie’, Happy Jack’s namesake, will surely be promoting smiles to the heavens with every last bite.