Home > Childhood, conversations, Family, Judo, Life > Father’s Day with the Latimers.

Father’s Day with the Latimers.

Yesterday, I celebrated Father’s Day with Mr. Latimer. This is typical, as the Latimers have historically celebrated Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day one day early because we hate being crammed in rooms with other people, especially when they are being all loud and happy in public, like at a restaurant. Because Mr. Latimer is somewhat unpredictable, his reasoning this year for celebrating Father’s Day on Saturday instead of Sunday was not the standard reason, but one that remains a little unclear to me:

(via phone)

Me: Hey, Dad.

Mr. Latimer: Oh. Hi. I didn’t mean to call you. I meant to text you.

Me: Oh. So, can I take you out for lunch or dinner next weekend? I can be at the house on Sunday after 2.

Mr. Latimer: ….

Me: Or Saturday, if Sunday doesn’t work.

ML: Well, maybe Saturday. Because, you know, Sunday’s Sunday.

—–

No, I don’t know.  As with most phone calls with Mr. Latimer, though, I just rolled with it. He’s not an easy guy to talk to on the phone. He’s a habitual mumbler who refuses to speak into the phone, so half the time I’m not too sure what we’re talking about. Most of our phone conversations go something like this:

Me: You’ve seen Grandmom lately?

ML: Yeah, I saw her and we mifoajlkg akdslfjoicmes. She seemed albkejsal, but then aklcmwioew malsng snchrof.  You know.

Me: What was that, Dad? I couldn’t hear you.

ML: Oh. I was just saying snfrmod hrysatlk ghiald. Plemsasems lked.

Me: Huh.

ML: Yeah, you know.

Me: Right.

——–

At dinner yesterday, Mr. Latimer demonstrated his usual sense of contradictory table manners. He insists that napkins are placed in one’s lap; however, for the past 15 years he has traditionally blown his straw wrapper at my face as soon as he gets his soda. Sometimes, he doesn’t even wait for the server to leave the table. Yesterday, the Japanese restaurant’s straws disappointingly came unwrapped. Mr. Latimer improvised with his chopsticks:

ML: Wanna sword fight?

Me: No.

ML: Wanna spear fight?

Me: No.

ML: Wanna play hockey?

Me: (Turns head. Looks out window).

——-

Then on the way home, we almost had a regular conversation:

ML: Oh, I saw this really great movie! Dirty Filthy Love.

Me: Oh, really? Who’s in it.

ML: It’s English.

Me: ……

Me: So, it’s in English, or it’s an English movie?

ML: The movie’s English. So I don’t know who’s in it.

Me: Oh.

ML: No, wait. You know who’s in it? Oh, nevermind. That was some other English movie I saw.

——-

We did actually talk yesterday. Although Mr. Latimer and I may not meet in the middle over table manners, we can always talk about judo. Actually, earlier in the week I was feeling pretty sappy about my dad. On Wednesday at practice, my instructor brought in his nine year-old daughter. She’s been taking the kids’ classes, and my instructor had her work with me a little since I’m injured and have to go slowly and gently anyway. I think there could be times when I’d be reluctant to work with a nine-year old, but I really enjoyed it. And she was tough! And tiny! She did over 150 uchikomi (where you fit in the technique without actually executing the throw). There are some adults who struggle to do that, but she just methodically plugged away without a complaint. I talked her into throwing me a few times and she was strong. Her dad was unabashedly proud when I told him all this and said, “That’s because she’s my girl! My girl is tough!”  I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to when I was her age–being on the mat, which seemed familiar, yet strange and sacred all at the same time, watching the adults, and of course having my dad there pushing me along.

I have to hand it to Mr. Latimer. He treated me and my brother the same and didn’t really do any of that over-protective stuff that a lot of dads do with their daughters.  He liked that I wanted to to practice judo like he and my brother were, instead of trying to deter from it or outright saying no because I was a girl and judo can be a rough sport. He liked that I wasn’t afraid to get hurt and that I wanted to smash all the boys. I’m grateful he never treated me like a princess. I think that’s helped me to always try just a little harder when I don’t want to anymore. More importantly, I think it’s helped me to be willing to try things that seem challenging, and actually see it as fun.

So while I may question Mr. Latimer’s conversation skills and table manners, I can say with certainty that he’s a great father. He’s proved it as many times as he’s blown his straw wrapper at my face.

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  1. jesse fahnestock
    June 19, 2011 at 17:29

    you’ve written some good stuff so far, Loz, but this one shades them all. What great writing.

  2. Jeannie
    June 19, 2011 at 17:55

    Oh, you do capture him… :-).

  3. Susan Martin
    June 19, 2011 at 20:16

    This is so nice! What a great tribute to a great dad!

  4. Stephie
    June 19, 2011 at 22:47

    Yay for Lori and Mr. Latimer!!!

  5. June 19, 2011 at 23:00

    Thanks, everyone! I couldn’t do it without Mr. Latimer to provide me with so many things over which to ponder. And also, I owe him for being a key player in my very existence.

  6. June 27, 2011 at 17:06

    this is amazing and hilarious. what a funny transcript

  1. January 21, 2013 at 18:00

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