Sunday, March 20, 2005

Super Dad

What better way to spend a Sunday than to read someone's recollection of Saturday. I couldn't link to this particular post -- it's from 2004, and perhaps the anchor has drifted -- so I'll paste Shane Nickerson's words whole:

It's a Saturday morning in 1981.

I'm ten, but I consider myself a pretty old kid. I am, after all, the big brother. Todd and Corey are both up too. Todd is eating a bowl of Rice Krispies with sugar poured all over it. Corey is eating English Muffins, or as my dad calls them, "Ishals" with butter and honey. I'm happy with two slices of "Grammy bread" with butter. "Grammy Bread" is what Todd and Corey and I call the pumpernickel/rye loaf that my grandmother always seems to have at her house. We call it "Grammy bread" because we don't know the real name. Plus, only Grammy seems to know where to get it.

I've been watching the crappy cartoons and shows that come on before 8:00am. Stuff like "Captain Bob's Drawing Show," and "The Barbapapas." Todd and Corey came down a few minutes ago. It's almost 8. Todd yells, "TURN IT."


I'm well aware that it's time to turn it to ABC. The first "real" cartoon is on at 8am. Superfriends is the beginning of the three hour block of Saturday Morning Cartoons. I turn the dial on our impossibly huge, wooden, console television to channel 5. ABC.

My dad walks into the family room. For my dad, Saturday morning means an early trip to Dunkin' Donuts, loading wood onto the porch and reading the "Union Leader" in the living room with my mom. As he enters, he sings one of his crazy songs. This one is called "Humpty Hadey." I interrupt his singing.

"Dad, did you watch cartoons when you were a kid?"

"Oh sure."

"What did you watch? Superfriends?"

"No, I don't think we had that back then. I used to love the old Ganubs Ganubby!"

Todd and Corey and I laugh. My dad always renames things with his own crazy language and makes up songs about everything. We recognize "Ganubs Ganubby" as dadspeak for Bugs Bunny.

"Want to watch Superfriends with us? You'll like it."

Todd excitedly exclaims, "Yeah!" Corey too is excited about the prospect of dad watching cartoons with us. She begs him, "Daddy please?" He thinks about it for a second. Wasting no time, we pounce on him with our common tactic of chanting in unison until he surrenders.

"watch cartoons. Watch Cartoons. Watch CarTOONS! WATCH CARTOONS!"

"OK. I'll watch for a little while."

We all cheer. And he watches. He laughs with us at the dumb jokes and makes up a song about the Wonder Twins' monkey "Gleek." For a little while, he lives with us in our Saturday morning kids' world, and it's really fun.

Saturday mornings were special to me. The cartoons were great, but that's not why I loved them. Saturday morning was the day that our family was almost always together. The three kids happily watched Saturday Morning TV while my parents popped in and out as they got coffee, started lunch and did yard work.

My parents are amazing.

My dad is my idol. He is 3,000 miles away, but he is always with me when I'm making decisions. When my brother and sister were young, we put a message in the paper for him on Father's Day. It read:

"For the best father in the world who always has time."

It's as true today as it was then. Because even when he doesn't know I'm looking to him for answers, his lifetime of being there has filled me with an invaluable reference which I can always turn to. He's been a living example of how to live, how to be honest and how to be a father for my whole life.

It's 1981.

My dad gets up at the commercial to head back to his paper.

"You're right, this is good!" he tells us as he walks out.

Todd and Corey and I smile at him and at each other. It occurs to me that when I grow up, I'm going to watch cartoons with my kids.