You can call it “Father’s Day.” if you choose. i call it “Daddy Day.” That is because i never in my life called my Daddy “Father.” As an aside, i never called my Mother anything but “Mother.” And i never called him “Dad” either. It was always “Daddy,” even when i last saw him in July 2013.

He was and is always “Daddy.”

i don’t know why.

But “Daddy” fit my father better than the alternative. “Grandpa” may have been a better moniker for him. He was that kind of man.

i’ve said enough about him in many posts, in many ways. i’m sure there are many others that feel that way about their Daddies. i think the best ones were called “Daddy.” So, i will simply note i miss him and always will and include the poem that prompted him to say, “Son, i didn’t realize you knew so much about me.


When most folks meet him,
they notice steel blue eyes and agility
his gaze, gait and movements
belie the ninety-five years;
those folks should look at his hands:
those hands could make Durer cry
with their history and the tales they tell.

His strength always was supple
beyond what was suggested from his slight build.
His hands are the delivery point of that strength.
His hands are not slight:
His hands are firm and thick and solid –
a handshake of destruction if he so desired,
he has used them to repair the cars and our hearts;

His hands are marked by years of labor with
tire irons, jacks, wrenches, sledges, micrometers on
carburetors, axles, brake drums, distributors
(long before mechanics hooked up computers,
deciphering the monitor to replace “units”
for more money in an hour than he made in a month
when he started in ’34 before computers and units).

His hands pitched tents,
made the bulldozers run
in war
in the steaming, screaming sweat of
Bouganville, New Guinea, the Philippines.

His hands have nicks and scratches
turned into scars with
the passage of time:
a map of history, the human kind.
Veins and arteries stand out
on the back of his hands,
pumping life itself into his hands
the tales of grease and oil and grime,
cleaned by gasoline and goop and lava soap
are etched in his hands;
they are hands of labor,
hands of hard times,
hands of hope,
hands of kindness, caring, and love:
oh love, love, love, crazy love.

His hands speak of him with pride.
His hands belong
to the smartest man I know
who has lived life to the maximum,
in balance, in control, in understanding,
gaining respect and love
far beyond those who claim smartness
for the money they earned
while he and his hands own smartness
like a well-kept plot of land
because he always has understood
what was really important
in the long run:
smarter than any man I know
with hands that tell the story
so well.

God, i miss him.

6 thoughts on “Daddy

  1. That’s just beautiful, Jim, and I’ve read that poem several times. Each time is new for me – and I also called my father Daddy. It’s a particular term of endearment not conveyed by “father” or even “dad.” My daddy went to Heaven at the age I am now, as did my dear brother, Norman who also always called our father Daddy.

    Happy Daddy Day to you, Jim!

  2. I also called my dad Daddy. When i talk about him to anyone else he is Dad. I don’t share my Daddy with others. He died two months after i turned 8 years old, so he will always be Daddy to me.

    1. i’m sorry you lost him so soon, Sara. But, as you say, he will always be your Daddy. And i’m sure he is proud of you.

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