Stanley R. Baker
For a long time, a much smaller, younger version of myself carried a very important secret conviction in her heart. I knew, without doubt, that I had the most handsome, wonderful Daddy in the whole world. I did have some tact even at 7 or 8, so I didn't brag about it to my friends, but I so knew it was true. I remember every eye in the schoolyard following me as I crawled into his squad car when he picked me up to have lunch with him as a special treat. I don't remember many memories of being as proud as that in my entire life.
Dad was a police officer when they were considered heros--no, not a cop or (cringe) a "pig" as policemen were sometimes called in the 60's. He was a calm, patient, "gentleman" who, as one partner of his commented at his service, would make friends with a felon before arresting him. He had the gift of a true storyteller and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. His book collection spanned every genre from the classics to scifi to biographies, and he was always in the middle of a good one. My love of reading began when he read from the classics to me at bedtime.
As his only daughter, I learned unconditional love on his knee and comfort and safety against his broad chest. I can no longer trace him a picture of my hand or buy him a tie for Father's Day, but I can honor him and remember all those happy moments of sitting watching him in his workshop or darkroom developing photos or on a riverbank cleaning a creel full of fresh trout he'd just caught--heck I remember begging my mother to let me go with him to the dump! All those memories just come flooding back. I hope all men know the legacy they leave as fathers. Mine left me one without parallel. Happy Father's Day, Dad.