Thursday, July 16, 2009

Paul Phillips, Nov. 3, 1938-July 16, 2008

Fifty Things You May Not Have Known About My Dad

1. he was born in Hong Kong, the son of missionaries
2. he could still count in Cantonese decades later
3. he lived on a commune as a kid
4. his first degree was in chemistry
5. he loved going down into caves and mines
6. he would rather spend two hours making something than buy it even if it cost a dollar and did carpentry and basic plumbing and electrical work
7. he built furniture, a 26’ sailboat and a house (with the help of family and friends)
8. he learned to play banjo from a record by Pete Seeger called “How to play the banjo”
9. he also played guitar, concertina, fiddle, mandolin, autoharp, bouzouki, piano and pretty much anything he put his hand to
10. he sang in the chorus of the Manitoba Opera for thirty years
11. he was the workshop stage manager for the Winnipeg Folk Festival
12. he skied, sailed, played hockey and tennis when he was younger, and until he moved to Vernon played polo
13. when he was asked how a socialist could play polo he said ‘nothin’s too good for the worker’
14. he sang Oggie Man to me when I couldn’t sleep and would sit up with me when I was sick
15. one of his favourite dishes was lamb stew and for years he got fresh oysters for Christmas breakfast
16. he loved really really bad puns and wrote poems to put on the tags of Christmas presents
17. he always bought special Christmas wrap that he only used for mom
18. he made his own beer and wine
19. he loved to play darts, especially with Peter
20. he could recite Albert and the Lion from memory
21. his handwriting was illegible even to him
22. he ran for the NDP federally and was campaign manager for William Deverell before Deverell began writing legal mysteries
23 he played crib with us in the evenings on summer holidays when he wasn’t reading mysteries
24. he loved Perry Mason and Charlie’s Angels and British mysteries on tv
25. he loved James Bond and Carry On movies
26 he painted with oils and did some wood carving when he was a young man - when he was older he turned his creative gifts to making toys for us and then for his grandchildren
27 he was a pilot in the Air Force
28 he liked the CFL and NHL but as a kid liked the Dodgers too
29 he was a Maple Leaf fan and loved Davy Keon
30 he played rugby when he was in the Air Force
31. he thought everyone should learn to type and to mend clothes
32. he learned Serbo-Croatian because he was teaching in Yugoslavia every spring
33. the older he got the more Welsh he got
34. he loved teaching and cared deeply about his students and colleagues although they may not have known it since he was pretty inward about his feelings
35. although he didn’t say much about how he felt he gave great hugs, held hands and gave smoochie kisses
36. he smoked a pipe and cigars for years and was really annoyed when he quit and mom didn’t notice for weeks
37. he loved Bruce Springsteen and Dr. Hook
38. he didn’t like sweets much but would get Goodies at the movies
39. he ate cheddar cheese on his apple pie
40. he ate a tomato every day - a cherry tomato from his garden was one of the last things he ate
41. he gave up wearing ties in the ‘70s because he said they served no purpose and were really uncomfortable
42. he didn’t like his middle name and wouldn’t use it
43. he loved to cook but wouldn’t follow recipes meaning he had a hard time replicating successes
44. he started baking cookies when he got older (presumably he followed recipes when he baked)
45. he always wanted to open a restaurant that specialized in soups
46. when he retired he began to write a column on economic issues for a seniors’ newspaper, started a Welsh men’s chorus, sang at Carnegie Hall and began to act
47. he could be phenomenally opinionated about everything especially things he didn’t know much about
48. but he also was interested in a phenomenally wide range of things and knew stuff about surprising things
49. although his mother drove him crazy he became more and more like her the older he got
and 50. this you probably did know, I really miss him

Things I've Inherited from My Father

a prominent chin
thick hair and a thick neck
square calves and knobby knees
a love of all sorts of music
the habit of resting my chin between my thumb and forefinger while sitting at my desk
a love of bubbly water
a love of tomatoes
a passion for social justice
a tendency to strong opinions
a tendency to get up on my soap box
a tendency to confuse matters of taste with moral judgments
a capacity for friendship with all sorts of people
a tendency to see the good in situations and people
an appreciation of the theatrical
a love of cooking without following a recipe

thanks Pops


ROBERTA said...

that was just fabulous! what a wonderful father you have (for he will live on - in & through you)...he definitely lived life to the fullest - thanks for telling us these 50 amazing things...what a delight....peace be yours in the coming days as you grapple with the loss of your father and friend.

Kim Sullivan said...

A Wonderful Tribute Erin

Anonymous said...

"he would rather spend two hours making something than buy it"

This sounds just like my dad. This is probably why I am so cheap. Not that I can make anything, but I know that things can be made or repaired and so it stresses me to think about buying something new.

"he played crib with us in the evenings on summer holidays when he wasn’t reading mysteries"
Did he drink Crown while playing, by any chance?

"he could be phenomenally opinionated about everything especially things he didn’t know much about"
Oh boy. THIS sounds like Hubby's father. LOL

You obviously had a terrific dad, Erin. I'll be seeing mine in two days and you've inspired me to be just a little bit more appreciative of him.