My dad died two weeks ago, on August 4. Since then, I’ve been in Virginia with my family, and for the most part, I’ve been offline. While going through old photos and documents in preparation for Dad’s funeral, I came across my old Daily Themes* yearbook. I had submitted a piece about my dad, which I’m including below. Although the piece is slightly fictionalized, I think it captures his spirit. Rest peacefully, Daddy.
My dad enjoys reclining in his big, grandfatherly chair. He wears jogging suits, which my mom buys for him. His favorite brand is Snoop Dogg’s—he enjoys saying things like “Fo’ shizzle” when wearing it. My dad always likes cooking for us, Stevie and me, and sometimes my mom when she’s home from work. His candied yams, steaks, oxtails, and sweet potato pies are world-famous, at least in the family. More than anything, he loves to eat. Often his jogging suits, especially Snoop’s, will show you what he’s been eating long before you even ask him. And usually he’s been eating something bad.
My dad is a diabetic. He savors sweets and starches, the forbidden foods, most of all. Once, he convinced my uncle to make a special pudding just for him and hide it in the fridge. But Stevie saw it all. So my dad let him in on the sweets, just as long as the women of the house, my mother and me, remained unawares. He knew that if we found out, I, who loved to catch him sneak a smoke (also forbidden), would tell Mom, the champion of leafy greens, who would fuss and ban all dessert from the house for a month. Dad waited until the wee hours of the morning to sneak the pudding out of the fridge for its first sampling. He served generous helpings for himself and Stevie. They nearly licked their plates clean, relishing the surprising combination of eggnog and banana. The late-hour dessert was so satisfying that Dad forgot to conceal their dietary splurge. We awoke the next morning to find an immaculate kitchen countertop, and, across the aisle in the sink, two plates streaked with a telltale yellow goo.
*Daily Themes is a long-standing class at Yale in which students submit a short composition (under 300 words) every day for review by a writing instructor. Each week of compositions focuses on a particular area or style of writing, such as setting, dialogue, reportage, or journaling.