Never a ‘daddy’s girl’ but forever his daughter

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

He was always Daddy. While many children outgrow the baby name for their fathers, I never did. He was never Father, Da, Pops, Dad or Papa. He was always Daddy and this year marks the 18th Father’s Day that I haven’t bought a card, made his favorite German chocolate cake or called him to say I love you.
That hurts. Although time has made his death more bearable, there is still an ache that cannot be assuaged, a longing that rips at my heart almost every day and a void that will never be filled.
Daddy was a real square shooter. He said what he thought and cared not what anyone thought about him. I remember how he would start his defensive sentences, “I’d do the same if the president of the United States was standing here.” And he meant it.
Daddy taught me to be strong, independent and to work for what I wanted. His legacy to me was to stand up for what you believe in, always remember where you came from even as you better your life and to be true to who you are, even when other people find it unpleasant.
He had an adventuresome spirit, too. We always drove the backroads, because he said, “You can’t see America from the Interstate.”
I didn’t get it back then, but I do now, and today I  follow that practice. I’ve discovered some rare gems by driving through one-horse towns, when I could have missed it all by breezing down the freeway.
Travel was his passion, and his time in the Army took him to scores of states and countries, and yet he longed to see more, do more.
Every time I take one of my little mini trips, he goes with me, because I know he would have loved the fried chicken in an old Georgia service station or the ruins of a Mayan pyramid or the bawdy ambiance that is New Orleans.
I treasure the memories of Sunday drives in an old station wagon where the back served as a table for an impromptu picnic of bologna sandwiches and RC Cola bought at a mom and pop grocery store after church.
I was never a “daddy’s girl.” My mother said we were too much alike to be bosom-buddies, but that doesn’t diminish the bond between us.
I remember his laughter, his booming voice resonating through the stillness of a hot night.
And oh, how I miss his counsel–and his validation.
When I bought my first car by MYSELF without a husband, I wanted to pick up the phone and ask him if I was getting a good deal.
When I had to drive this humongous bread truck (without doors) at work AND back it up, I wanted to shoot a video and send it to him because he always thought I was the worst backer-upper. Ha! Ha! Daddy, I did it and you would be proud.
And the list goes on and on. While it does get better, it doesn't get easier. The pain, the loss, the feeling of abandonment is always there.
But I decided a long time ago to hang in there and to be the woman my daddy  taught me to be.
I pledged to take the sense of adventure combined with loyalty, determination, a strong work ethic and the pride in knowing who I am and where I came from and continue to do things I know would make him proud.
Daddy’s girl? No. But always proud to say.
“I’m Russell Roberts’ daughter.”