I’m a sucker for a story with a strong father-daughter relationship. I grew up without being allowed around my dad, and I envied those around me whose dads paid special attention to them. My best friend who lived across the street from me was at the top of my envy list. Her dad worked for the telephone company and when he came home, he let her drink the water left in the cooler on the back of his truck. He often saved some cookie or other treat from his lunch to give her. Any questions on why I have food issues?

When I first read Pride and Prejudice, back in the dawn of time, I loved Mr. Bennet. His sense of humor and doting on Lizzie gave him high marks in my estimation. I suspect he had much more involvement with his first two daughters’ childhoods than with the other three. His misjudgment and near ruination of the family came as a complete surprise. I took him off my potential book father list.

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On the plus side of fathers are Bob Cratchit and Atticus Finch in literature, and Ward Cleaver and Jim Anderson from TV. I’d sign up for any of them, especially Mr. Anderson. After Kitten and Princess, I’d love to know which nickname he’d give me. My own father called me “Pumpkin” which I resented as an overweight child and teen. Then I started to realize it was simply a common endearment from where he was born and raised.

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On the plus side for mothers who had to stand in for fathers, top of the list has to be Mrs. March from Little Women. Keeping the four girls strong during all the hubbub and to-do of their lives and still liking Jo after she turned down Laurie, well, that takes a mother’s love.

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On the plus side of kids who grew up without parents but still managed to stay true to the way the parents would have wanted them to be is Harry Potter. And gotta say an also-ran for Mr. Weasley, he brings a lot of levity and positive thinking to Harry’s world.

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Ultimately, while it may be an interesting what-if to think about growing up with a different father, I can’t imagine who I would be if I hadn’t grown up exactly as I had. In spite of all the years we missed out on knowing one another, in spite of our very different opinions on just about everything, I am pleased to have a dad and to have inherited his humor and love of family. Who is your perfect father?

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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