All posts tagged: Dad

Taking Care of the Strongest Man I Ever Knew

  My father asked me, “How long does it take?” I felt all the sound, light, air — everything — leave the room; only the weight of those words remained. I was standing at the side of his bed, lightly stroking his forehead. Mom was exhausted, slumped in a chair in a dark corner. He was dying and wanted to know when it would be over. He had seen so much life and death on the farm — animal life and death — for 40 years, he knew when death was near and he was ready for it. But for him to ask me… that took me a minute. I was the youngest and a girl. You didn’t reveal this kind of vulnerability to your youngest daughter. Four months earlier, I’d come home for a visit and it had been clear to me: Dad was not going to make it. It was upsetting to see him so much thinner and weaker than just a month ago. It was before the dialysis. Before the hospitalization. That January afternoon, he …

This Is What the American Dream Actually Looks Like

Nancy’s father-in-law Boen Tong (Photo courtesy Nancy Davis Kho) My late father-in-law was an immigrant. He was also one of the most American guys I ever met — if you believe that what defines our national character is a willingness to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, a love of family and community, a thirst for knowledge and, of course, a really green lawn. Boen Tong — known as “Tong” or “BT” to his wife and friends, “Dad” and “Grandpa” to his kids and grandkids and “Tom” to the slightly deaf old Jewish ladies with whom he played bridge in his later years — was born in Indonesia in 1919. He spent his childhood working in the family batik business, pedaling his bike through the Javanese jungle to pick up the beautifully dyed cloth for which Indonesia is known. He spoke Malay and Javanese, but when his parents sent him to study at Dutch schools, Dutch became the first of four foreign languages in which he would eventually become fluent. By age 19, BT showed …

tuenight grace penny wrenn father

Flowers Before My Father’s Funeral

I opened the front door to let the yard guy in. “Come on,” I said. “Talk to my daddy.” He walked a few steps behind me as I headed toward the TV room where Daddy sits every day in his brown leather Barcalounger. “Daddy, this is… wait, tell me your name again?” “Austin.” “Right. Daddy, this is Austin. He just finished clearing out the gutters and stuff outside.” “How much do we owe you, sir?” Daddy asked. “A hundred and fifty dollars,” Austin answered. Then, as Daddy begins writing out the check, Austin said, “Are you a veteran, sir?” “That’s what they tell me,” Daddy said. “Well, thank you for your service,” Austin replied. He paused, and then, “What you watching there?” At this point, Austin, who looks like he’s in his thirties, was nearly yelling. He was following my lead, I suppose, since I, too, had been loudly shout-talking with my 85-year-old father even though I was just a couple feet away from him. But now that Austin was in on it — doing …

Letters from parents TueNight

Family Archivist: Why I’m the Only One Who Still Writes Letters

I come from one of those annoyingly functional intact families that make it hard for me to sell my memoir to publishers. Of course, the rosy vision I have of my family relations is helped by the fact that I live, by choice, three thousand miles away from them in the Bay Area, and have for 20 years. It’s easier to idolize my parents and siblings (and vice versa) when we’re not rubbing right up against each other every day. Even if the cross-country move was entirely my doing, once I became a parent the fact that I was the outer moon to their cozy hometown Family Planet became harder to bear. When Mom and Dad wanted to see my brother’s and sister’s kids perform in a school music showcase or volleyball game, it required a drive that ranged from five to thirty-five minutes (depending on the snow). To see my kids perform, it requires advanced airline reservations, a transfer in Chicago, and three days for them to get over jet lag. Seeing Grandma and …

A Shop for Pop — Our Special Boutique on GREAT.LY

TueNight has a boutique! As we announced a few weeks ago, we now have a shop on GREAT.LY. It’s chock full of original style, substance, baubles, kid stuff and the quirky goods you’d expect from us — all by our own curated “makers” who handcraft goods from all over the world. This week, we’re debuting a “Shop for Pop” to help you find a groovy item, perfect for Dad. By shopping TueNight on GREAT.LY, you’re also helping to support this site — we make about $30 month on that ad you see to the left, and that sure isn’t enough to support us. If you love the content you read on TueNight and want to help us make it better — share the site, tell your friends and do a little shopping. Here are a few of the goodies in stock: Retromarine Stylish Parrots Swim Shorts, $70 Mad Men Offices Floor Plan — Handrawn Fantasy Floorplans by Brandi Roberts    John Rousseau Solid Walnut Chopping Block with Maple Ends, $250   Aster & Bay Grooming Oil with …

Chef Dad - Pop

Chef Dad: How My Husband Won My Heart and My Kids’ Stomachs

  On our third date, Andrew cooked me an incredible dinner: leg of lamb, roasted asparagus and crispy potatoes. It was truly impressive. Years later, he told me that he learned to cook because it was a good dating move. I might have felt played, but I like eating well just a tad too much. So, I not only let him cook for me regularly, I married him. Fast forward to when our first son was 3 ½  years old. He went to a preschool friend’s house for a play date and stayed for dinner. (If you’re thinking woo hoo, what a break for Wendy, think again. We had a 1 ½ year old and an infant at home.) I picked Davis, my oldest son, up at about 7:00 pm and, as always, he was full of stories! What a great reporter he was. So, chat, chat, chat… and then, “Mom. Guess what? It was so weird at Daniel’s house.” “Really, what was weird?” (You can only imagine where my thoughts were headed.) “When we …

TueNight Pop

Margit’s Note: Hiya Pop

We’re all about Pop this week. And we don’t mean our daily can of carbonated fizz. We’re talking about dear old Dad. Corny jokes, clutch advice (from boys to business), military-length pants, the same haircut since he was 10, stirred vodka martinis (sorry Bond), someone to aspire to. In this day and age of mommy bloggers, Dads get an underrated rap — as Bethanne notes in her piece this week. Dads, of course, are half of what made us. Some of us struggle with that father-daughter dance — we all do at one time or another. Maybe he was “the fun one” Maybe he was there every day. Maybe he wasn’t there at all. And many of us don’t have a father anymore to ring up on the phone to just say, “Hey there Dad, watcha doing?” We don’t take that for granted. We just love em. This week: Dad and I chat about life — via his matchbook collection. Jody Jones recalls how her dad stepped up after her mom passed away. Kristin Booker borrows …