Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Here's to all you great dads out there! This is my dad, Richard Henderson Howard. You can call him Henderson, H, Henders, Der or almost anything that sounds similar. My dad's nicknames for me have included Cucky, Grippie, the Grip, Monkey, Monk & Champ. I'm still called Champ and I love & deserve it ;)

Because my blog was so very young this time last year, I've taken the opportunity to republish my Father's Day post from last year with a few additional photographs :)

Here we are at my grandparents, his parents, in Newport News, Va.
This photo below is with my great grandmother, Pom Pom (my mom's grandma) in our apartment at Carriage Hill in Richmond, Va.
                 Below, my dad as a young boy. This is one of my favorite pictures of him. 

As a kid, dad spent his summers fishing and crabbing in the James River in Newport News. His childhood was pretty close to idyllic and I think the family's eccentricities contributed to his individualistic outlook. I remember Grandma Howard as a sharp, witty and very pretty woman, while my grand dad, Head (as in head of the household) being hard to know, at least from my young perspective. Dad had one older brother, Morris, who I thought was just the most fun. I especially loved Duchess, their beautiful boxer.

Above, 1968 with his college buddies, clockwise from left-- Bob Arthur, dad, Paul Pascarosa, Bruce Behrman, Bob Hungerford, Donald Butler (seated). Below, my parents and friends with Les McCann. You may have seen this in my recent Mother's day post. They've seen countless jazz greats perform including Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.

Dad remains friends with Donald & Bob, unfortunately Paul died in the early 1980s. My parents met at the University of Richmond, a beautiful campus in Richmond. Below, my dad with Donald, who hosts a wonderful Christmas Eve (eve) Party each year! He's an amazing chef :)

I am very lucky that both my parents love animals. Animals particularly take to my dad. Here I am with our 1st pet, Cubby. I found him while playing outside and because our apartment didn't allow pets, we had to hide him until we moved. I thought that was kind of fun. We always joked that he's the reason we found a house, but think it was in the works already.

This was one of the sweetest dogs in the world, Ricky! Once we moved, our neighbors, the Clements (family of 8) baby sat me during the week and their dog had puppies. I spent each morning with them. I was sooooooo happy we took in Ricky.

Here are Bruiser and Ilsa. These were two beautiful Golden Retrievers we had. Bruiser was another incredibly sweet dog and Ilsa, who meant well, had a habit of eating album covers, toys, magazines, cake, anything she could get her paws on.

This is Jake, a fairly crazy dog, but we loved him & he adored my dad!! A friend of mine found him during my last year of college and I kept him. He had some behavorial issues and an eye injury, so hard to imagine finding him a home. I lived in the fan district of Richmond, attending VCU. On his way home from work, dad would often check in on Jake, especially days when I waitressed after classes. When I moved to NYC, my parents took him for me. They had 3 dogs for awhile. Jake and my dad were best friends until Jake passed in 2003. Now, they have 2 cats, Panda (below) and a funny black & white cat, aptly called BW. He basically found my dad by coming to the backyard for visits.

Panda worships my dad. Below, her competition, BW captures his attention ;)

We think he was mistaken for a Spider Monkey by a neighbor one night last summer. An alert went out, but no one else ever spotted a monkey in the area. A minor mystery ;)

Our house... I know dad doesn't think I care about the yard, but I am very proud of all the work he does to keep it nice!

Mom likes to take photos of us in the kitchen for some reason, think you can tell in top one that we are pretending to be in the middle of a conversation. Below is a picture of dad in a T-Shirt he designed. He often draws funny characters on cards mom sends & I used Cafepress to have these 3 faces printed out. We refer to this design as Triple Threat.

My parents have always been great to my friends and my friends seem to enjoy them just as much! This is an old shot with Marshal (far left) & Kelly (right), two close pals from college. Interesting puffy, blonde hair-dos on the ladies :D

Below is my great uncle Tommy who died last spring. I'm happy I found this photo of him with my father in better times.

I've included these photos of my dad visiting horses, because I think it shows his genuinely kind nature. This must be why animals are so drawn to him.

Yep, that's Ashanti!

I have been blessed with parents who have always been involved in my life. My dad is a unique person who speaks his mind, has his own way of looking at situations and has a great sense of humor. I have always respected his opinions, his open-mindedness, belief in equality, fairness and justice.

Finally, I just want to say Thank You Dad...

Thank You for teaching me to swim, to build a sandcastle, ride a bike, write a check, drive a car (including clutch)... Thank You for playing nerf ball at the apt pool, keeping Cubby, taking care of Jake, volunteering as a timer at every single summer swim meet, being an extra parent to my friends, driving me up to NYU in a Ryder truck, honking with abandon in the streets of New York... Thank You for taking an interest in everything I do, being so funny, being a good Democrat, pulling through a tough illness & taking such good care of yourself since, taking care of mom when she needed it most... Thank you for teaching me patience, though not by example ;)
Believe it or not, I think about something you've said to me over the years, almost every single day! I LOVE You! Have a Very Happy Father's Day!!!!!!!!

Above is my Grandaddy Rice, my mom's dad, no longer with us, but a very good father and granddad!!

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! It's a very important job!!!

xo, Allyn


kristine said...

What a sweet post! (You might have outdone the Mother's Day one-lol) While I have not met your father, I am inclined to assume he is just as wonderful as you and your mom. I hope he makes it to NY one of these times so we can meet at last. Happy Father's Day "Der" and thanks from me too for Allyn. :)

Margaret said...

Amazing. Loved learning more about H (Der?). Only got to meet him a few times but enjoyed the short time together very much!


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