My funny valentine

Posted by Anita on 02.05.07 9:19 PM

heart (c)2006 AECWhen I was a little girl, my dad was my first food buddy, the adventurous eater who constantly egged me on to try new things — one of my first childhood memories involves Pops bribing me to eat blueberries. His years in the Marine Corps left him with an unquenchable Tabasco addiction, which I’m sure shaped my spice-loving soul; I became a fan of all things picante at a young age, under his watchful eye.

As I grew up, he’d let me cry on his shoulder when the boys were mean. “I know it’s not the same, but I love you…” he’d say. And then he’d take me out for ice cream.

And on that point, he never wavered: Ice cream soothes all pains, salves all indignities. So its fitting, perhaps, that the last thing he wanted, the last thing he ate, was a scoop of Nutty Coconut from 31 Flavors.

As we sat around this afternoon, holding his hand, a surprising number of “Dad stories” centered around food. We never let him live down the time he made us waffles using sesame oil, creating a crazy (dare I say inedible?) supper and filling the house with the lingering scent of stir-fry gone crazy.

We jokingly refer to my mom’s friends here in Henderson as the Asian Food Mafia — they’re forever getting together on some pretense or another to share food. They’ve been keeping us well fed, taking turns cooking for us. It’s actually been quite lovely to dip into curries and boo chim gae and gai gkaprow, instead of the usual assortment of chuch-lady casseroles. Pops had a generous heart, and it’s no surprise to me that this steady stream of friends and neighbors stopping by with covered dishes looked genuinely distraught by his grave state, and now by his passing.

He always sent me a valentine each year, and I always reciprocated. I sent my card early this year, and I’m glad that I did. Even though I’m married to a wonderful man (who my father dearly loved), I can’t imagine Valentine’s Day will ever be quite the same.

family, holidays & occasions, Vegas



Comment by Michelle

What a touching post! I’m so sorry for your loss, but your sweet memories will sustain you. **HUGS** for you and your family.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 6:58AM

Comment by Sean

How wonderful that your memories of him will always be filled with such sweetness … and fire. Our hearts go out to you, and we can’t wait until we can have you both over for a meal to celebrate your father’s life.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 9:35AM

Comment by sam

I can’t imagine a sweeter obituary. My thoughts are with you, Anita.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 9:47AM

Comment by Garrett

In memories you find happiness and respite, you’re very blessed to have so many. *hug

Posted on 02.06.07 at 10:01AM

Comment by cookiecrumb

That is the dearest memorial, Anita. Brave and frank, and it brought me to tears.
I send you my loving thoughts.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 10:46AM

Comment by Tea

Oh, Anita. I am so sorry to hear the news–my heart goes out to you. If there is anything I can do (Mitchell’s delivery?), please let me know.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 1:27PM

Comment by erik_flannestad

Anita, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. What a touching tribute. You have our condolences and sympathy. If there is anything Michele and I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 5:07PM

Comment by shuna fish lydon


this is a wonderful tribute. I can say that no holiday is ever the same, it’s true. but it’s also true that the memories are forever important. I’m glad you have that amazing bald guy, and those delicious dogs. next time I’m in your hood, maybe we can all go for a walk.
I hug you from overcast florida.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 5:40PM

Comment by KathyR

I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. You have written such a lovely tribute. Please know that we are thinking of you and your family and wish we could be there in person to give you all big hugs.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 8:31PM

Comment by Brett

What a moving and beautiful memorial to your father, Anita! My heart goes out to you during this difficult time.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 9:09PM

Comment by Jan


What beautiful words for your Dad. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you were blessed with an amazing and loving Dad. You and Cam and your family are in our thoughts.

Posted on 02.06.07 at 11:08PM

Comment by Chubbypanda


I have no words for something like this.

Posted on 02.07.07 at 10:35PM

Comment by Bill

Never read your blog before, but found you through Tastespotting. This post was a beautiful tribute. I’m sorry for your loss. But as a dad, I can tell you that your father would be touched by your words of remembrance.

Posted on 02.08.07 at 10:36AM

Comment by Helen

What a beautiful tribute to the first man in your life. My thoughts and condolences go out to you and your family.

Posted on 02.09.07 at 5:58PM

Comment by kitchenMage

I think that ice cream may taste a bit sweeter with that memory to accompany it. Your tribute is sweeter still. hugs from another newcomer to your site.


Posted on 02.12.07 at 9:55PM

Comment by Anita

Thank you all for your sweet notes. Just knowing that there are people out there who are thinking of me/us is very comforting.

When I wrote this post about Dad, I had a very strong memory of Ilva’s posts about her father’s passing, and Tami writing about her mother. As I worried that none of our readers would want to read something so personal and sad, I remembered I was so touched those posts. It helped me be brave enough to share it. I knew I couldn’t cope with people writing to ask why we weren’t posting, so I felt I had to write -something-, and since I had to write it, it might as well be a rememberance.

In hindsight, I’m so glad that I did. And thank you all for indulging me, and comforting me.

Posted on 02.16.07 at 3:11PM

Comment by Laurie

Thank you for sharing this post, which charmed me and I’m sure all your readers. I’ve been thinking of you–and your dad. What a wonderful guy.

Posted on 02.25.07 at 8:19PM

Comment by Linda

this is so beautiful — the post AND the pastry!

Posted on 03.09.07 at 8:29AM

Comment by Anita

Thank you. Believe it or not, it’s a special holiday Krispy Kreme. Dad always did love doughnuts…

Posted on 03.09.07 at 9:30AM

Comment by Anita

I read this article on Salon a couple of days back, and it really struck a chord for me.
I really appreciated the letter-writer’s comment about how he never realized how comforting expressions of condolences — which sound so hollow when you’re offering them — actually can be. So thanks again — it means a lot to me, in ways I never could explain, just to have you say “we’re here, and we’re sorry.”

Posted on 03.22.07 at 10:00AM

Pingback by Married …with dinner » Blog Archive » DOTW: Widow’s Kiss

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Posted on 11.02.07 at 8:59AM

Comment by Tartelette

I was just thinking about you and your dad and this post as I was writing mine. When I asked for one donut at Kripsy Kreme, I also asked them for a coffee cup half full of sprinkles!!

Posted on 02.14.08 at 11:19AM

Comment by tea_austen

I always come by here on Valentine’s Day and read this sweet post again. Thinking of you today. xox

Posted on 02.14.12 at 9:51PM

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