Father’s Day

June 17, 2018

Hi, Dad,

Couldn’t let the day completely get away and not wish you a Happy Father’s Day! It’s been over seven months since we’ve talked, which is too long of a stretch for us. I’ve picked up the phone many times to just see how you’re doing and let you know that I’m still plodding along in this PhD program. I’ve used the Casio calculator you gave me when I started my Stats class quite a lot actually. It came in very handy in the Analysis of Variance class and will get more good use in the Regression and Multivariate classes that await me. For someone who has always claimed to not be good at math, I’m holding my own; I credit your math genius genes. 🙂

When you left suddenly, I was so very sad and didn’t think I could ever cry as much as when we lost Ty. Something about getting older I think. I find my heart getting a little softer. But you’ve always known my heart, haven’t you? The little girl who would sit patiently on the brick-trimmed flowerbeds in the hot, Oklahoma summers while you mowed the lawn. Waiting for you to stop and wipe your brow – my signal to run inside and grab a cold Coors from the fridge for you. I can still hear the crack of the can and feel your hand on the top of my head. I wish I had the many gifts you brought home from the far-flung places you’d travel for work – the doll from Malaysia, the kilt from Scotland, the frock from England. Perhaps my love of geography was born out of spinning a globe to find where you were working.

But then you were gone. Divorce does that. We moved, and I knew I wouldn’t see you again for a long time. I think you would have liked teenage AJ. She was sweet, funny, fiercely protective of Ty and Tif, became a pretty great tap dancer and pretty ok at musical theater, and of course boy crazy. 😀 Then I had to leave too. She asked too much of me, and it was then I understood why you left too. I’m glad that you answered my letter; I was fearful you had forgotten me or wouldn’t want me anymore. Thank you for writing back, for showing up to meet me, and for cheering for me at my high school graduation.


I have not been the best daughter at times- disappointed you and fallen short of the hopes you had for me. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for supporting me when I was at my lowest. Thank you for seeing that I was a good mom and for being a good grandpa to the Short Girl. I’ll always remember how much you laughed at Outback celebrating my birthday. The Short Girl has jokes and was in fine form that night!

The last time we had our Starbucks coffee chat you asked about my love life and if I was seeing anyone. It was the first time in quite awhile you’d asked; it seemed I was destined for the nunnery with my new found love of Catholicism so you quit asking. You said many times you just wanted to see me settled, and I loved you so much for wanting that for me. While “J” and I tried yet one more time after you left, we will not be settling down together. I am settled; there is peace in a settled life regardless if that life has a beloved in it.

So many times I’ve wanted to send you an email or give you a call to share with you life updates or what the Short Girl is up to these days. She dyed her hair purple after you left. There’s something about seizing life and doing things that you want to do while you still can. Lots of tears have been shed in the chapel after Mass over the last couple of weeks. I’m missing you so very much and wishing you were here for just one more Starbucks coffee chat if nothing else than to hug me and to say, “I love you, babe.”

Ty and Dad

Ty & Dad are having this same conversation right about now and waiting for the rest of us to join them.


“Smoke and Lemonade” Finds a Home

Super excited to find out that Tulsa Review published my memoir piece “Smoke and Lemonade” in their Spring 2015 issue. The issue is filled with wonderful writing and fantastic photography. I’m honored to be included with such amazing artists.

It’s pretty sweet that I get to post this on Father’s Day! When I told my dad I wanted to go off to school in New York and become a writer he said, “It’s a tough life to be a writer but if that’s what you want to do I believe you can do it.” And even today when I get a publication here or there his response is always, “Keep after it, babe. You’re about to turn the corner.” Love you, Dad!