Ways I remember my Dad; yes, those are bowling trophies :o)
While I try to not get wrapped up in "Hallmark holidays" because I feel it's important to do special things or celebrate as often as possible, not just one day a year. It's still hard when you see and read about all the celebrations going on around you.
I miss my Dad, big-time. He was truly a wonderful man inside and out. I used to go to the bowling alley with him every Monday night, for what seemed like years, when he bowled on his league so that I could run around and see friends and eat junk food there. It was that one school night that it was ok being up/out late as he didn't get done until 11:00 p.m. It was a long 3 hours every week, but I loved going and he always toted me along. He was a good bowler and he took it seriously, like everything else he did.
My other favorites memories are when he would pull my sister and I on the sled attached to his riding lawn mower, how we would hoof it up into the deep woods, for what felt like miles, to find the perfect Christmas tree, and how we once we built a fire on a frozen swamp (not a pond, a big swamp) in the snow (pictured). I'm not sure why we did that, but it was fun and the kind of stuff that kids today would probably never think to do. He worked hard. We rarely took family vacations and they were usually to the horse races, (which I as a horse-lover anticipated with excitement), but when we did go and we weren't at the track, he wanted to relax in the hotel, watching TV. I never understood or liked it because we always wanted to go do things, like swim, but this was finally his time to rest. I get it now. Now that I know the rigors of a demanding, physical job.
He had a smile that matched his big heart. He was always ready to help out a friend or one of his girls when something needed fixed or built. The only photo missing here is one of him golfing and woodworking. He took those up when he retired (which he did early, lucky for him) and loved doing both. I recall when his golf buddies had a falling out and he had to start splitting his time evenly between them, and he played several times each week, taking turns with them. He always hoped they'd reconcile so that they could resume playing together, but regardless, he still remained friends with both. That's just the kind of person he was. Here's to you Dad, I know you would've gotten a kick out the personalized Coke bottles!