My sisters and I always called him Daddy. It was never the more informal Dad or the very formal Father. To us he was Daddy.

And oh how we loved him.

Today is his birthday. He’d be one hundred five years old if he were still living.

One hundred five is a number I can hardly say aloud, let alone imagine.

It seems he was just here with us.

And yet, it’s been over thirty years.

But in my heart and memory, he’s very much alive.

He loved reading Bon Appetit magazine. Read every issue cover to cover. Sometimes he’d read a particularly interesting recipe or article aloud to us. He didn’t actually make the recipes. Reading about them seemed to be enough. Somehow, it fueled his creative fire. He’d have loved the cooking channel.

I too read cookbooks, and now cooking blogs. Sometimes I’ll take a cookbook to bed with me and read through it as if it were a novel. I think I got that from him.

He practiced law from a small office in our home. Every day he dressed in slacks, dress shirt and tie – even on the days he had no appointments. He taught us the value of looking sharp, and dressing for your profession. I don’t think he’d understand the gansta rap fashion many young men embrace these days. In fact I know he wouldn’t. I can still remember him telling my mother about a young lawyer who had the impudence to stand in court before the judge with scuffed shoes.

Shined shoes were important to Daddy.

For many years he was the primary cook in our home. He was an early riser and the one to make breakfast for all of us. And because he worked from home, he usually got dinner going. He made a beef stew/soup that I’ve never been able to replicate, and still yearn for on cold wintry days.

He was adventurous about food and helped us learn to be. I remember one time when he introduced us to frog legs. Rest assured it did not become a staple in our home. But I love him for opening our horizons.

After he and my mother made a trip to Hawaii, he became enamored with pineapple. I still have the pineapple knife he brought me. Looking back, I think my fascination with cooking gadgets came straight from him.

He loved golf and taught my younger sister to play. I know she holds dear the memory of those times with Daddy.

He valued education and infused our lives with the love of learning

More than anything, he gave us love and an unconditional belief that we could do anything we set our minds to.

His three girls were his world.

Researchers today know how important fathers are to developing healthy, well-adjusted girls.

Thanks Daddy! You did a great job.

And Happy Birthday.

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