Santa Daddy

santa-claus-152343_640 My dad always loved to play Santa. Not the dressed up kind of Santa, but the person who passed out the presents and was in charge of Christmas. He started on Christmas Eve when all of my mom’s family got together at our house.

We would have lots of food and a huge bowl of shrimp. One year my cousin and my sister ate almost the whole bowl of shrimp themselves.  No one ever let them forget that.

Dad would always want to get to the presents and we wanted to drag out the gift giving to make it last longer. He was like an excited kid. He would announce who the present was for and who it was from.  Sometimes if we were not paying attention, he would put two fingers to his mouth and whistle. He couldn’t really whistle that way but loved doing it.

Christmas Day, Dad continued to be Santa. When we got older and slept in, he would wake us up. He couldn’t wait to get started. When I was twelve he bought me a stuffed Snoopy dog. Snoopy was my favorite PEANUTS character. I wish I still had that dog. I have bought several to replace it but they’re just not the same.  Another year, when I was in college, I saw a beautiful pink pant suit in an expensive catalog. I wanted that outfit so badly. Dad made sure I got it for Christmas.

My earliest memory of Dad making sure I got what I wanted for Christmas was when I was four years old. I wanted a train. Well, back in the day, little girls didn’t really get trains or supposedly even want them.  Things were more divided – girl toys, boy toys.  Girls were supposed to like dolls and dress up and pretend mommy things. I wanted a train. Santa daddy made sure I got it.

I loved that train and used it throughout my childhood in so many ways. Our dolls took it to school. Three laps around and they were delivered to the door. It was a runaway train that would go so fast it would come off the track. It was decorated with all the trimmings for Christmas. I still have that train.

Santa daddy was good to himself, too. One year he came home with a racetrack just for him. He was a kid at heart.

All of those times seem like another life – another time. My dad passed away at an early age. The family has scattered as most families do. I hope they still remember those special times when the earth seemed to stand still and the happiness of Christmas was in the air. And my dad was Santa daddy.

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Real Men Cook Breakfast

chefs-hat-23436_640My father always cooked breakfast on weekends. He’d also fire up the grill for steaks or barbecue chicken and stand over them like he was the master chef.

My husband does the same thing. He makes breakfast on weekends–makes a mean pancake–and mans the grill for just about anything we cook. I didn’t think much of it at first. I grew up with a man who did the cooking and met another one who didn’t mind to cook. I realize now I’m a little spoiled.

Naturally, I had to have my main character’s father comfortable in the kitchen. He’s ready to lend a hand no matter what time of day it is. He’s into natural ingredients and will jump in the car to get a fresh piece of fish to cook for the family.

More and more men are into cooking these days. When I was younger, it was woman’s work. Julia Child was on the scene and women wanted to emulate her. Now there are TV shows galore showing men whipping up all kinds of dishes. I like that. Nothing wrong with men knowing how to cook.

My son has jumped on the cooking bandwagon. He’ll help out in the kitchen when the mood strikes him. When he was away at school, he bought himself a good knife and a cutting board. He swears by them. They usually come out front and center when he’s involved in a recipe.

The first time we cooked together was right after he came back from school. The recipe called for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Since my husband and I aren’t fans, I would’ve made the meal minus the peppers. My son wouldn’t hear of it and insisted I buy them. He would cut them up.

After opening the can and dumping them on a plate, we couldn’t stop laughing. They reminded us of something that was not food and had more to do with a bodily function. He took pictures and posted them on Facebook having people guess what they were. No one could. The meal was finally prepared after all the antics. My husband came home from work and we shared our story.

My son dubbed that adventure, The Matt and Mom Cooking Show. We’ve had more that followed, some just as funny. My only regret is I wish we really had them on film. We have many videos of people blowing out candles for birthdays or ripping open packages on holidays. Nice to have but sometimes you feel you’re on repeat as you watch.

I wish I had pictures of my dad at the stove, whipping up the scrambled eggs. I’d put it with the one of my husband pulling the Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven. Then next to them, I’d place the picture of the chipotle peppers. It would be a great trip down memory lane.

Hopefully, one day my son will add to my fantasy picture album. His son would have to go a long way though to top his dad’s photo but if he’ll be anything like my son, he’ll make sure he does.