Fathers and Daughters the Ties that Bond

From as early as I can remember, my father and I shared a passion for movies, television and food. When I was 5, my parents bought me a children’s china tea set with delicate pink roses painted on the cups, and that’s how it started.

My father would come home after working three jobs and have dinner with my mother, four brothers and sister. Afterward, he and I would have our special “tea time,” which consisted of chocolate milk and plastic cupcakes.

We would prop ourselves on stacked oversized pillows that everyone seemed to have in the 1970s, indulge in sugar and chitchat about the events of the day. If it was a Sunday, we would watch The Wonderful World of Disney. This was before cable, so the channel selection was limited to three stations, and my metabolism performed at a much higher speed than it does now.

As I matured into my teenage years, I would dress up, and he would take me to a fancy restaurant. We would talk about how I was doing in school, and inevitably the agenda would turn to boyfriends.

Fathers have a knack for having the perfect timing for when to ask about those things.

Always a multitasker, he would know everything that was going on in my life by the time we’d finished our appetizers and the main course was ready to be served, ensuring that if he needed to give his guidance on someone he didn’t think passed muster, there was plenty of time to do so before dessert.

He found the perfect roast-beef sandwich, fudge and milkshake. We were drunk on junk and loved every minute of it.

During summer vacations at the Jersey shore, the two of us were experts at the “boardwalk crawl.” We would start at one end of the boardwalk and eat our way down the two-and-a-half-mile stretch, stopping at any food stand that piqued our curiosity. I found the perfect pizza and fries.

He found the perfect roast-beef sandwich, fudge and milkshake. We were drunk on junk and loved every minute of it.

Since we walked back the two and a half miles to the motel, we counted it as exercise and felt justified sharing a funnel cake. It was bliss.

Occasionally, we would all pile in the family car and go to the drive-in movies. At only $5 a carload for a double feature, it meant that we could indulge a little at the snack bar. As soon as the animated popcorn, hot dog, candy bar and soda cup started dancing across the screen, we knew we had 10 minutes to get back before the second feature began. We made a beeline to be the first in line.

Today, with a family of my own, father-daughter “date nights” are fewer and farther apart. We still indulge in culinary cuisine and dissect films or talk about which shows we like on television. Our love of food is still prevalent, and while our palettes have become a bit more sophisticated to include things like sushi and Indian naan, nothing compares to roast-beef sandwiches with au jus, salt-and-vinegar boardwalk fries or backyard grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

With my father now retired, his time is more flexible. My life is now the one filled with errand running, work-related events and kids’ sporting and after-school activities. As a result, our bond continues to strengthen. I still have the tea set.

And I think, this Father’s Day, I shall rent Snow White and have him over for chocolate milk and chocolate cupcakes. I’ll serve it in style, the way it all began.