Hallmark is no match for my dad...


Remember my daddy – a possible series? Today is his birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy!  Daddy is one of those people who I cannot go out and buy a card for. Our relationship is uniquely special and there is rarely a Hallmark card that expresses just what I am feeling or want to say.

When I was born, daddy was a month from turning 20 years old. Leaving the only home he had ever known, he moved down south to find a job in order to take care of his new family.  He lived with someone until he found an apartment and then sent for me and mom. We were separated for  2 1/2 months, and his concern was that I wouldn’t know him when we saw each other again.  I was seven months old when he met us at the airport. Mom was concerned too. She said at that age, I was suspicious of everyone. I only went to her and my grandparents. Anyone else I would turn my head or begin to cry. So when daddy met us at the airport he said I had the look like, “Hey I know you” and I reached for him.  I was totally a daddy’s girl from the get go.

I was totally a daddy’s girl until... PUBERTY! Oh boy! We could get mad at each other (still can) as quick as one can strike a match.  But you know what? Despite not liking him from puberty plus 10 years, he’s right up there with NO GREATER LOVE.  I didn’t like him because he was always playing a part in “my best interest” – that's what father's are for.

So I made my own “Hallmark” card that said:

Thanks to you Daddy,

I know the best way

to fix a toilet,

how to swim,

and how to

not fight

like a girl.


There are those times when,

I think of you and your wisdom

and wonder:

What would daddy do?

What would daddy say?

What would daddy think?

Times like when I'm driving

to get gas

on E,

and I'm glad you aren't

along for the ride. 

But I'm always respecting you

even when

you are not a witness.

 I'm off to go get gas!

 Happy Birthday

See? Hallmark could not have said it better. A Hallmark card would have been $5 worth of irrelevant stuff.

When I turned 21, daddy took me out on a date. It was an ice-breaker from our years of getting mad at one another at the strike of a match.  It was my first and only time eating at a five-course restaurant. We understood that the waiters bring you one course to eat at a time but at one point, breaking all etiquette, we had at least three of the courses on the table. We didn’t let them take anything until we were done eating. Aside from Escargot flying across the room, it was a Julia Roberts Pretty Woman moment for me. That night made me feel special.

Here’s the thing... our father/daughter friendship didn’t really begin until I got married and moved away from home. Thereafter when he struck a match, I just blew it out. 

Kenya G. Johnson