When I was in high school my sister was already married and my mom traveled a lot with her job. I can’t remember which shift my dad was on during these years – it seems like usually he worked the 7am-3pm – that must be right because he’d then get home about the same time I would from school. On Fridays we’d go to Braum’s and share a banana split together.
That time was special, yes because I loved that ice cream, but more because of the time with Dad. I don’t recall any really deep conversations or solved world problems, we just spent the time together. I’m sure he’d ask me how school was going and I probably asked him to explain, “Just exactly what do you do again?” one more time. I probably told him school was fine, but that my English teacher wasn’t fair to anyone who wasn’t a cheerleader and he probably told me he screwed things into big round things and had a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch. I have no idea what we said. I just remember that he wanted to spend the time with me. And I ate that up right along with the cherries he so willingly sacrificed for me.
I went to college at Oklahoma State, 90 minutes away from home. We had a Braum’s in Stillwater, but the ice cream didn’t taste quite as good. I would occasionally drive home on a Friday afternoon in time to ask Dad if he’d like to share a banana split with me.
When I was thinking about that this week, I toyed with the idea of actually going home this weekend and taking Dad out for ice cream. I wish I could have done it. There are no Braum’s in St. Louis and I’ve never been interested in ordering banana splits anywhere else, nor with anyone else.
Dad, I love you. Your investment in me made a difference. I remember. My kids will too. Thanks for being such a good Papa to my girls.