Something my dad always liked to do was tell stories.
After multiple brain surgeries and a reconstructive one on
the area where the surgeries took place,
he ended up having a hard time telling stories that weren't
what we had heard many times before.
I think that it was
a. the way he rebuilt relationship with people after he hadn't seen
them in a while,
b. the way he emphasized what was important to him,
c. the way he got through the effects the surgeries had on his
short term memory so that he could get to new stories or
thoughts that he had that day.
Also, he would forget a lot of things as his time on earth winded down,
and he was known for randomly switching conversation topics,
particularly when he got tired.
While this was difficult and frustrating for all of us at times,
it definitely also provided for some laughs - a necessary thing
when going through tragedy like this.
One of those times he did a topic switch-er-roo happened when
John asked Dad for my hand in marriage.
John drove down to PI from the cities one Monday afternoon.
He happened to pull in the same time as my sister. She looked
at John with two seconds of confusion, then started freaking out (of course).
She knew what was coming, and, apparently, so did my dad.
Ashley walked into the house and yelled, "Dad, John's here to talk to you!"
John headed upstairs where my dad was. They started shaking hands, and
my dad started "smiling like a fool" as soon as he got it. He didn't
quit shaking John's hand.
John asked dad, "So Gary, do you know why I'm here?"
Dad said "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" with his classic chuckle during
"Well, I'd like to ask permission to marry your daughter," John told my dad.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." Dad replied, still grinning from ear to ear.
"Well, Gary, what do you think about that? Is that ok?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." Still happy, still shaking John's hand.
As they have this exchange, Ashley tells John to come downstairs
to talk about all the details of the proposal (she had to know!).
After a little while, Dad yells down, "Ashley, tell John to come up here when he's done."
John went upstairs, and Dad said, "You know, you didn't have to ask my permission."
"I know," John said, "but I felt it was the right thing to do, and I wanted to do it."
"Ok. Say - I need to show you something."
So at that point John was thinking that Dad was going to give him some kind of
advice about marriage or what Dad did to propose to my mom.
Instead, Dad proceeded to go to the kitchen,
open the freezer,
"Check out these walleye I caught!"
Classic Dad. You never knew when a moment like that was going to happen next.