My Dad is a very organized and thorough person—both by personality and in his work. If he has a free Saturday and doesn’t have plans to go spend it outdoors, he passes the day organizing the garage. Or vacuuming the entire house. Or cleaning out the cars. Or doing the family bookkeeping, meticulously going through every single credit card receipt from the past few weeks and matching them up with the latest statement.
For his job, Dad works in quality. He visits and corresponds with the suppliers that manufacture products for the company he works for, making sure they are following all the specs and meeting all the standards they should be. Essentially, Dad’s job is to keep cutting down on cut corners until everything is running smoothly.
If you were to talk to my Dad—about work, about life—it would be obvious that he’s intelligent, analytical, and passionate about his beliefs. But you wouldn’t expect him to be the kind of person who has a lot of imagination. At least, not the whimsical kind.
But he does.
His imagination just doesn’t show until he starts playing.
Back in the olden days when my younger sisters and I were kids, Dad would jump right into our imagination games like a swimmer diving into a pool. When we were really little, he’d get down on his hands and knees and give us “horsey rides” across the luscious green
carpet grass in our living room. When we were a little older and discovered the sparkly pink magic of Barbies, he wasn’t afraid to pick up a doll and make her do the splits or call for Ken, the hilarious high-pitched voice coming from his mouth at odds with his manly mustache.
And then there were all the lets-play-pretend games (props optional). When he came home for lunch each day, he would sit at the table and cut up an apple or pear, putting a few slices on the very edge of the table—fodder for the mischievous “animals” hiding underneath. It was always a challenge for us animals to grab the fruit without being caught by the zookeeper.
Helped along by Dad’s imagination, car rides turned into airplane rides.
An old red wagon turned into a prairie schooner, complete with a rounded canvas cover.
The top level of our two-story playhouse (that Dad built!) became the Eagle’s Nest.
And bedtime turned into story time.
For a guy who has never been a big reader (at least, not until he discovered Clive Cussler’s books last year), Dad could sure tell a good story. Dad’s stories took us to fantastic worlds where anything could happen—from a family of elephants escaping hunters using secret underground tunnels, to assorted Mexican foods coming to life!
The Taco Brothers and Burrito Sisters made frequent appearances during that limbo time between putting on our pajamas and actually feeling sleepy enough to go to bed.
The Taco Brothers and Burrito Sisters were always on the run from Big Boy and his sidekick, Little Boy, the hungry villains who wanted nothing more than to devour our heroes. One time, Big Boy disguised himself as a giant container of sour cream in hopes of luring the anthropomorphic tacos and burritos to their doom. (It didn’t work—apparently, tacos are suspicious creatures.) Another time, the Taco Brothers and Burrito Sisters took a trip on the Enchilada Train. Everything was going well, but then Big Boy attacked, biting a huge chunk out of the train and our heroes barely escaped with their tortilla skins intact!
Things can get tense in Imagination Land.
Especially when ninjas show up to fight you as soon as you agree to star as The Bulk in your daughters’ knock-off Avengers home movie. Ah, good times.
All through my childhood and teen years, my Dad was there for me. Not only for the serious stuff like teaching me how to drive and helping me with my problems—but also for the fun, fanciful, frivolous stuff. The playful, the pretend. The imaginary. The kind of stuff that makes life truly wonderful, in the most literal sense of the word.
Thank you, Daddy, for playing with me.
Thank you for filling my life with wonder.
Thanks for visiting the Written Woods!