Yes, I am female. I do not like shopping. When a girlfriend asks me to go shoe shopping I’ll do it as a friend for her wedding, but that’s it. I have short, wide feet that simply do not fit stilettos or sandals. As I age I believe I’ve 10 pair of Crocs and that is my choice. Wash & wear, like me, until the tread goes. Yes, winter boots, too.

Every five years two families got together for Dad’s birthday. I missed the first in Bali. His 70th was a sailing yacht out of Greece, tracing the steps of Odysseus. My brother used the Roman name because the voyage sounded better as “Chasing Ulysses.” My brother had time to write on board as he was very ill, having punctured an eardrum early on, under water.

I bought swimsuits, one-piece full coverage with wraps, Ralph Lauren et al. I was informed that only rubber-soled shoes were allowed on board. I bought plenty. I didn’t need any. For $4 I bought Greek leather sandals and what everyone did was walk onto the ship, take them off, toss them in a large basket and walk around barefoot. We even learned Greek dancing and I identified and pronounced all of the mezedes (appetizers) at Dad’s birthday party. Everyone was amazed and all I could say was that I’m a cook, that’s how I learn what I do.

I also bought a lot of serapes for $2 apiece which is good because to go to a Greek Orthodox church one must be covered. I brought enough for all the gals (cover your legs, cover your arms, place one over your head) to pass the censor who sits outside the Church and decides who will be allowed to see said church. I dressed appropriately to begin with, as that is what the eldest “child” does.

Back to swimsuits. I spent $500 on two swimsuits, showed up in one with a skirt, a Ralph Lauren, and greeted Dad on the aft deck. Seventy years old. He was wearing a purple bikini Speedo! Yo, Dad!!!

The last one is sad. We were supposed to sail down the Rhine and Mosel rivers from Amsterdam to Basel for his 85th birthday. I bought tour books and a bunch of clothes and Crocs for what would have been a wonderful trip.

Dad was too sick to go. He urged all of us to go anyway and I said “Dad, it’s your birthday, it would not be right to go without you.” He died eight weeks later. I got to see him for four long days and we told stories. He was very ill but his mind was sharp. At one point he asked how it was when my mother died. I never got to finish that story. I think he was awaiting death and learning how to make amends.

Before Thanksgiving I told my brother I was cancelling Nanny and my husband’s parents and coming to see Dad. He said “no, he is no longer the man you knew, the father you knew.”

His funeral was a few days later. I was suitably dressed in black in some of the comfy shirts, pants and Crocs I had purchased for the trip we never took. He still is with me every day, giving me guidance on everything but dog training! He was good at a lot of things, including parenting, but dogs, no way. Cheers, love your family and friends, as all I have are clothes, shoes and memories. Dee

ps Wait, Dad, you’re gone and now my favorite store here has been bought out and de-branded. It was two blocks away, the clothing and people were great and I’d love to have it as a designer loft. How am I to buy clothes and shoes every five years without your birthday? I guess it’s a “save the date” moment.

pps I’ve already designed the loft.



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