Judging from this picture alone, I’d say my quirky sense of humor is a trait passed along to me by my father. Also my ability to remain calm in the midst of a bizarre situation.
I think it was when I was in high school that my dad grew out his beard and it didn’t look anything like his hair. It was frizzy and grey, and it was starting to get long like an Amish man. I hated it. I believe I was gracious enough to tell him it made him look like a goat, and I begged him to shave it off. Maybe it was just an experiment; maybe he got tired of it – whatever the reason, he did end up shaving it off after awhile. It didn’t take me long to forget about the beard; I was just glad it was gone.
At Christmas that year, there was a special little present under the tree for me. It’s imbedded in my memory: a little square box, neatly wrapped and labeled in my dad’s careful writing, “To Ruthie, From Daddy, With love.” I saved it for the very last gift. Any other man who wrapped a gift like that for his daughter would have put jewelry inside first. Never mind that I knew my dad’s strong feelings about jewelry (and any other womanly adornments) – there’s always a chance that someone will break out of their personal mold and give a gift just because the receiver will want it. Yeah, right. I knew in my heart of heart that was wishful thinking.
I opened that sweet little box and found my dad’s frizzy grey beard nestled inside. It was a brilliant joke.
Also a good reminder that my daddy loves me. And even though he was constantly pushing me to think for myself and not let the fickle world of public high school set my standards for me, he still listened to my girlish opinions, and what I thought did matter to him.
You’d think I would have treasured that beard-gift forever. But… I’m pretty sure it got tossed out with all the Christmas wrappings.