Bittersweet memories of loved ones
March 14, 2012 5:00PM
Updated: March 14, 2012 5:00PM
St. Patrick’s Day is always a bittersweet time for me as it invokes many memories of my father.
My dad was a Michael but everyone called him Bud. To my knowledge, there is nary a drop of Irish blood running through our veins but St. Pat’s Day was always a cause for celebration for my dad. See, he was a man who greatly enjoyed people, especially family and his wide circle of friends.
Irish or not, for my father, the March holiday was always a welcome break from Lent and the long winter.
What was paramount was the gathering of people — rejoicing in old friends and embracing those new to his life. That’s how I remember my dad, in the middle of a large group of people, smiling, laughing, teasing and making everyone feel special. That is a sweet memory I cherish.
The bittersweet — and the irony — is that my dad also died on March 17, 39 years ago. It took a long time before I could even acknowledge the holiday as it came around year after year, but I’ve grown to appreciate St. Patrick’s Day as a time to recall what I loved most about my dad — his joy and appreciation for the people in his life.
What triggers happy memories of loved ones for you?
Lisa Weber, Crown Point: Fourth of July. That was my dad’s absolute favorite holiday. Every year, our yard was filled with family and neighbors. What a circus! But the great thing was that he took care of it all so my mom didn’t have to work herself to death cooking. Dad would order big pans of salads, baked beans and desserts. My brothers would ice down the barrels of pop and beer and dad would assume his position at the grill — the hot dogs and hamburgers were endless. As it got dark, he’d pull out dozens of boxes of sparklers for the kids and the yard would light up with the sparkle. I can still see the happiness on his face.
Terri Jackson, Merrillville: My dad adored my mother until the day he died so he always made a big deal over Mother’s Day. This was the day for dad to make his famous leg of lamb with all the trimmings. What I remember most is the total mess he’d make in the kitchen. Somehow he managed to use every plate, pot and pan we had, but everything always turned out delicious. Afterward, he’d push back from the table and say, “Mother, the kids are going to clean up,” and we’d moan thinking about the mess. But somehow, he always ended up helping us and making us laugh. Those were special times in our family.
Lois Hamilton, Lowell: My mom, Easter and her homemade lamb cake. For her, it was almost a sacred ritual of the season and was always front and center when she took our basket of food to church to be blessed on Easter Saturday. I can’t look at a store bought lamb cake today without thinking about mom and missing her dearly.