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On Being A Cop | Dear Dad

Dear Dad


June 21, 1969

Dear Dad,

I am glad you stopped by this afternoon, although I barely got a chance to see you. Christopher is six months old today and he is getting to be more fun as each week goes by. He loves it when I hold him high above my head and roll back and forth on the bed, and once he gets laughing it’s so much fun for both of us. His laugh is so hearty it’s infectious… well you heard it so you know what I mean. He is our first child, your grandchild, so of course it was just natural that you would want to see him in person. Once I reflected upon your visit, I guess it should not have surprised me. Of course he is important to you, but it just caught me totally off guard to see you.

Yes, it is “Christopher.” Karla wanted Christopher because we knew he would be born very close to Christmas. There will be more grandchildren for sure and I promise there will be a James somewhere down the line.

I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t thought about you for quite some time. It has been over 18 years since you left. I was 13 and I was angry. Not with you—what happened wasn’t your fault—I was mad at the world.

“Thirteen is a bad time to lose your father,” I would tell anyone who wanted to listen. Looking back, I guess there is no “good” time to lose a parent for whatever reason. But it just didn’t seem fair that cancer ripped you from the fabric of our family.

As Chris and I got into the game today, the two of us were laughing together. I rolled to the left and there you were, standing in the bedroom doorway smiling at the two of us. By the time I put Chris down on the bed, sat up, and turned toward the door again, you were gone. I was totally surprised. Maybe surprise isn’t even the right word. Shocked, maybe… but that isn’t right either, some might attach a negative connotation to that and I was certainly glad to see you.

Maybe I wasn’t supposed to see you. Maybe you aren’t supposed to let yourself be seen. I don’t know what the rules are, but there is no doubt that you were there.

When Chris gets older I’ll tell him about your visit… thank you for coming.

Your loving son,


Showing 10 comments

  • Kathleen

    I hope all the missing dads and grandfathers are around us! I need mine and it would be such a pleasure to see him once again. Kathleen

  • Juan

    Jesus said to her, ” I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? John 11: 25-26

  • David Joseffer

    Absolustely beautiful, Jim, as always.

  • Cindy

    Jim: brought a tear to my eye…..I just visited with Gary’s GREAT grandsons in Denver. His 2 grandsons still miss their grandpa very much and wish he could have met the new additions to their families. Yet, you are right……..he WAS there in so many ways.

    • jimpadar

      Thanks Cindy, your comment means a lot to me. As corny as it may sound, I feel that if one of my stories can bring a chuckle or a tear—then it was a good story.

  • Chris Padar

    “When Chris get’s [sic] older I’ll tell him about your visit…”

    Forty-one years older?

    • jimpadar

      Which might just prove what I’ve been saying for the past 40 years… you don’t listen to me, son. 🙂

  • Joanna

    lovely stuff!

  • Pat Cronin

    Nailed it.

    Hope you had a great Father’s Day.

  • Jay

    You haven’t written a “good story” yet; they’ve all been so much better than good. You have a gift. Thank you.

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