My Memories: My Daddy
My dad would always put his all in everything that he did. He didn’t mind putting time, effort and practice into something to be good at it. Whether it be his job, a hobby or just a game of football, he would analyze the situation and put thought into how to proceed to get the best results and how to be the best he could be.
I have many memories of my dad that exemplify this quality, and I am sure over time I will write about them all. But today, I am going to write about a memory that shows this attribute on a small scale, but has stuck with me for all these years.
My parents and grandparents, for years, would have booths at the local flea market and sell stuff to supplement their income. For many years, this was my dad’s only source of income. There were a couple weekends out of the year that larger flea markets would open and they were big events with hundreds of vendors. One of these was in Wilmington, OH and it was called Caesar Creek Flea Market. It would take us a couple of hours to get there and we would stay for the entire weekend, camping out in our Van.
One year at Caesars Creek, when I was around 13, across from my parent’s booth was a man who had a very small miniature golf course set up. It was only a few dollars to play, I cannot remember the exact amount, but it was less than $5. You got one shot at each hole and if you made it, you moved on to the next and so on. If you missed, that was it, game over. If you made it to the end, the prize was a handmade doll that was about 2 feet tall and it was made to look like a real toddler with their back to you, arms crossed and head down. They were very cute and they had both boy and girl dolls.
All weekend we watched customers play and attempt to get to the prize at the end. Over the course of the weekend, at least a hundred people played, some playing multiple times in an attempt to win. Out of all those who played, maybe 3 or 4 reached the end and won a doll. It was entertaining to say the least.
I had asked my dad a few times to play, to try and win me a doll, but I felt like he was shrugging it off with usual excuses like; he was busy, not now, I will think about it. However little did I know, that my dad was taking time to not only watch the other players, but really observe them and the course, analyzing who won, who lost and how they played, their strategies, how hard they hit the ball at what angles, etc.
On Sunday, the last day the flea market was open and maybe an hour before it closed, my dad surprised me by walking over and paying for a turn to play. I thought for sure there was no way he would win, because I had watched all those people throughout the weekend fail. However, one by one, he made each hole on the first shot. He made it the entire way through the course and won me a doll!
I will never forget the smile on his face as he walked back towards our booth with the doll in his hand. At that moment he was the most amazing dad in the world to me, he was the best at everything, the strongest, the smartest and he was mine. He picked out a little boy doll, that was wearing white shoes, blue jeans, a red shirt and a blue and white striped baseball cap. I no longer have the doll and honestly, have no idea where it went, but I remember clearly what it looked like.
For the entire weekend, I thought my dad was just too busy for me, but I didn’t realize he was taking his time and observing so that he would have the best chance of winning his little girl a doll
John may on August 25, 2020:
This is one of my favorite stories you have told me about your dad. It shows how much he cared about you that he spent the time to study what was going on and know exactly how to win the doll for you. This memory has to be priceless to you .