More than words

My dad, he’s a pretty reserved guy (duration of football games aside). But, like me, when he has pen and paper, inspiration flows. Only for him, pictures take the place of words.

When I was in college, I had a one-page drawing from Dad in my mailbox every Thursday. Usually, the pictures poked fun at something that happened that week, such as a finals week when I realized midway to class that I was wearing one brown, one black shoe. Or the time, as a freshman reporter for the school newspaper, I misquoted an under-21 club owner, saying he was planning to serve “kangaroo beer” instead of “kegs of root beer.” (Thank heavens for editors.)

I cried to him once about a professor who replied to my question by asking if my brain had fallen out of my head. (Did I mention? This was in front of about 300 classmates.) That Thursday, when I opened up a letter to see a classroom full of fallen-out brains, I could finally laugh about the comment.

I could get all mushy here and say how, with each drawing, I saw how much my dad missed me. How each one said “I love you” even though few of them sported actual words. I’ll spare you—and him—the mush.

But I just went to the mailbox. And there were two letters, one for my daughter and one for my son. Return address: Pappy.

They each got a drawing congratulating them for their recent report cards. My girl’s showed her karate chopping the books. My boy’s showcases his gap-toothed grin.

“It’s from my pappy!” Emma squealed to her friend as she grabbed the letter from my hand. “He’s an artist!”

“Wow!” her friend replied. “He’s really great.”