June celebrates fathers, and lucky me had a prince of a dad. He died when I was 25, and I’ll miss him always—but what a man he was, and what sweet years we had together. He was such a gentle man with a dry, witty sense of humor.

One quirky detail I remember about dad: whenever I asked him a question, there was silence for a few minutes, which could seem like forever to a child. I’d whine; “Huh, dad?— huh?—Dad!”

He’d look at me, then continue what he was doing. It was his way of thinking through the answer, any answer, before he spoke. As I grew up I learned to just give him a few minutes, go on about my business, and maybe 15 minutes later, he’d say, (out of the blue) “Maybe Tuesday we can.” Or, “The red one.” ... of course by then I was on to something else, practically forgetting what I had asked in the first place ... Huh? Oh, yeah—that question I asked—a year ago. This trait fit perfectly with his personality, he was a very thoughtful man. He could be silly, too. Making up outlandish bedtime stories, singing silly songs. Here’s a poem he wrote for me when I was about 11 yrs old ... he taped it on the mirror in my bedroom.

I am lucky enough to have a second father. He’s been in my life for almost 30 years now, longer than I had my own dad. This doesn’t mean he replaces him—no one could—and he knows that, and wouldn’t try. But he “adds to,” and is a huge part of my life. I love him dearly, and have learned the ways of another kind of father—brazen and bold; loud rather than quiet, but he, too, is a thoughtful man. And he can also be silly. He doesn’t deserve the label “step” ... I prefer to say he’s my second dad.

And lucky me, three’s a charm: my children are the lucky owners of one prince of a father, too. No one could love them more.

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