This post originally appeared on Suburban Men on June 16, 2017
I lost my Dad and brother at a young age. Every Father’s Day is bittersweet for me. I am thrilled to spend the day with my kids, but I can’t help reflecting on how different my life would have been to have a father to teach and influence me.
Part of the way we deal with loss is that memories start to fade after a while. It’s a natural reaction that allows us to move on and not dwell on our loss. The downside of this is that many cherished memories fade along with the painful ones. I only have a few clear memories of spending time with my Dad.
One of my favorites is a simple thing, but it’s one I hold dear. It was a Saturday afternoon and my Dad was watching the St. Louis Cardinals on TV. There were few things he enjoyed more and it fostered my life-long love of the Cardinals. Now, keep in mind that this was the 1960s, so being able to watch your favorite team on TV was a rare treat. They were on maybe three or four times a year.
Dad was stretched out on the couch rooting for Gibson, Brock, Maris and McCarver. My brother and I, like kids are wont to do, kept pestering Dad to come outside and play Wiffle Ball with us. That was our thing. As soon as Dad would come home every night after a long hard day, we would play ball together. I can’t remember a single time that he refused us.
I know there was nothing Dad wanted more that to relax, have a cold PBR and watch the Redbirds. But, he got up, turned off the TV and came outside with us.
I don’t believe that Dad ever got a chance to visit Busch Stadium and see his heroes live. So, when the Cardinals built the new Busch Stadium in 2006, I purchased a commemorative brick with Dad’s name on it that was installed in the new stadium so he would be forever enshrined with his heroes. A copy of that brick still sits on my desk to this day.
When my friends at Ballpark Blueprints offered to provide me with a framed canvas of Busch Stadium, I was deeply touched. I mounted this beautiful piece of art above my desk and now, every day I can look up and feel like I still have a little piece of my Dad with me.