My Dad . . .

short and to the point, I am a Daddy’s girl. I have never married because I think that I will never find a man like my Dad.

Now I have a photo of my Dad when he was about 5/6 months old on a bare skin rug but he would kill me if I posted it, so I won’t.

But this is my Dad as a little boy:

He was the 3rd child of Gordon Rutledge and Gladys Compton, born in Burnaby on a September evening, many years ago.

From stories he has told me, I have a feeling that my Dad was a little bit of a hellion when he was younger. He has told us many stories of his younger days but the one I love the most is the Rabbit Story.

When he was a young lad, he decided that he was going to raise and sell rabbits as there was a butcher down the street that would buy them from him. So, my Dad (who was a boxer) raised a bunch of rabbits and when it came time to sell them, he boxed them up and took them down to the butcher. He arrived and showed them to the butcher and the butcher agreed to buy them BUT not until my Dad had killed, skinned and cleaned them.

So, what did my brave Dad do?? He took them and let them all go in Central Park in Burnaby. To this day, when I see a rabbit there, I have to wonder if it is a descendant from my Dad’s rabbits.

Then as young men of that time do, my Dad meet a young lady named Nancie and he has told us the story of the geese that my Mom’s Dad was raising. I loved this story when I was younger because my Dad would tell it so well.

He would talk about showing up at my Mom’s family home in North Burnaby and that he would try to be very quiet so that the geese didn’t hear him. But they always did! He would be walking along and would suddenly hear this thumping coming at him — thump, thump, thump — and he would turn around and there would be this pack of geese running towards him making the noise that geese make. Enough to scare a guy away.

Luckily for me and my sister and brother, it didn’t and they became engaged.

So, at the young age of 21, my Dad began his life — as a husband, then father, grandfather and soon Great-Grandfather.

In between, there there have been many other things.

At one time, he and his older brother, Robert ran a Pie Shop that I believe was called Best Pies. They sold to grocery stores and others. It was located on what is now Edmonds and Canada Way in Burnaby. He had many different jobs including working at the Port of Vancouver in the Grain terminal, he was a truck driver for many, many years as well as a Bartender.

Growing up, he was the BBQ Master (except maybe doing a duck), the Stuffing maker for the turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, he could build just about anything and did, he was the man who yelled at the TV when he didn’t like the play on the Saturday night hockey game or the call at a boxing match. He was tough as nails on us kids when he had to be and caring and concerned when needed (like all the times my sister and I got car sick).

He taught us to laugh at things some might not — like when he “passed wind” and would blame the noise on the geese in the picture above the couch.

This is my favorite picture of him and I — I say that is why I am short with a little neck, he will say it is because he had to hold onto me somehow as I was always running away/around.

And despite his tough, Teamster exterior – he is a softy at heart. To this day, beside his bed is a picture of his Mom and a picture of my Mom.

I think that I have only seen my Dad cry 3 times in my life — the first was at his brothers’ funeral — that shocked even my daughter as she said she had never seen her Pa cry before and then the following year at his sister.

The last time was in 2009, when I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting to find out what was wrong with me. Nancie and I had been there for awhile and she had called them to tell where we were. I opened my eyes to see my Dad leaning over and kissing me on the forehead with tears in his eyes. And for the next 11 days, he came out to see me there and even now, lectures me when I don’t do what I should.

So, here is to my Dad — the only man who has been there through it all — skipping school, the rotten teen years, the loosing of my mind in my twenties, the baby at 30, then watching both my daughter and I grow up.