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Daddy Diary
So, Neal and I broke up. Thursday. I'm not really ready to write about it, or even to talk about it very much. I just wanted to put that out there, so you know.

In the meantime, I'm stalling. Like I said in the last entry, my dad was here the weekend before this past one. Since he's almost as fabulous a writer as I am, I glued his fingers to a keyboard and forced him to write a guest entry, talking about his visit to the Keys. And me. Because, you know. Me. Mememe.

My dad is one of the best people in my life, and he's been my hero for as long as I can remember. I value his opinion more than just about anyone's and no one can make me cry faster - that's how much he means to me. Some of you have "met" him - there was an incident several months ago where he was talking about boobies in the Diaryland chat room. I know.

Dad and I are probably the most alike, of anyone in my clan. I miss him already.

Here's what he had to say:

* * * * *

Hi to all, who read Jamie’s diary…

My name is Gary (crap, I already feel like I’m at a “Something Anonymous” meeting). Also known as the old man, party pooper for teenagers, the man with the wallet, old geezer, Father Time, pops, and lots of other things, I guess. Actually, I’m just Jamie’s dad (or daddy, as she sometimes calls me... makes me melt). I’m writing this under a bit of duress. Jamie has threatened that if I don’t make this journal entry, she’ll clobber me with one of her Tae Kwon Do ditties. Actually, this should be coming from her mom, Debbie, who is the REAL hero in our family, but since I was the one who just visited our little girl in the Keys, Jamie wanted an entry about our time together.

It’s been a couple of months since I visited her journal site (I know, shame on me), but I read her most recent entry and it really covered a lot of it. I’m sure you have all had the same feeling after a mini-vacation – seems like the whole deal lasted just a minute or two, then it was already time to go home.

When I visit Jamie, the hardest part is packing the night before I leave, then dragging myself to the car in the morning with the realization that our time together for that visit is over. The beautiful part is, though, with all the modern technology we have at our fingertips these days, we can still stay in touch at a moment’s notice – and in real time. I’ve often wondered what it must have been like in the old days of writing letters carried by horses. Days, weeks, perhaps even months pass... waiting to hear from the one that you love… always looking forward to getting that letter. Then, once you’ve gotten it, sitting down and writing a reply with the realization that the same amount of time will pass until it is delivered, and even more time passing until you get a response. We live in a fantastic age for communication.

And, that’s what I do for a living (Jamie didn’t think of a career in communications all by herself, for goodness sake!). I head up communications for the Energy business segment of Rolls-Royce. Pretty neat, huh? Love my work. And no, I don’t have a Rolls-Royce for a company car. That’s the absolute first question everyone asks me. We are in the business of manufacturing jet aircraft engines. Some of those engines can be used as power supply for natural gas compressors and electric power generators, and that’s my gig.

OK, enough of me. The trip to see Jamie was great. Short, but great. Rather than starting at the beginning of the time we had together and working my way to the end (which I’m sure you are all sitting on the edges of your seats to hear about), I thought I’d just share some random thoughts. In no particular order. But, stuff that brings back memories for me, and I’m sure Jamie, too, and stuff that you might find interesting regarding this person known as “Jamiestar” and her surroundings. Here goes...

  • I LOVE Jamie’s friend, Shawn. Although there are a few years between them (Shawn is a bit younger), she is a neat person and I really enjoyed meeting her for the first time. Jamie says they are opposites. I’m not so sure. All I know is that they live well together, although with Jamie’s living habits, I think Shawn might be getting the short end of the stick. I cherished Shawn’s excitement on my arrival.
  • I also very much enjoyed meeting Shawn’s mom, Lynn, and her boyfriend, Tim. The hospitality they showed us on their boat when we went fishing and snorkeling was awesome. Jamie, please tell them “thanks” again from me.
  • Jamie and Shawn live like pigs. There is no order to anything. The fingernail polish remover is filed with the books. The jewelry is filed on every table in the house. Of course, Jamie’s rationale is: “if I set something down the last place I used it, I know where it is, so it makes perfect sense to me.” Jamie, if that were the case, I’d file my Preparation H... well, enough of this conversation.
  • Jamie’s idea of cleaning her bedroom for me to sleep in (and, I did feel privileged that she gave me her bed and she slept on the couch), is to kick everything (and there was lots of everything) in a corner so there was a “path” to the bed.
  • The seafood in the Keys is to die for. And Jamie, while at “Snappers,” take the old man’s advice – ORDER THE DAKOTA!!! Flounder with a sauce that melts every taste bud known to man.
  • Shawn gives great directions if you ever go down there, but don’t try to take a short-cut from the airport like I did. An hour or more “touring” Hialeah is no joy, and certainly no picnic. Sorry, Shawn, I should have listened to you. Didn’t make the same mistake on the way home, though.
  • Jamie sounds great on the radio.
  • When something needs fixed in Jamie’s apartment, the urgency to get it done is longer than my married life. There is not a drain in her apartment that works. But, I talked to Jamie today, and she said Ed, the landlord (neat guy), fixed the one in the kitchen (thank God!). Hey, get the bathroom one fixed, too. I know you shave in the shower, but guys like hot water on their faces when they shave!
  • Jamie and Shawn make a mean fish and green beans dish.
  • I love Jamie’s cat, Miss Budina. I think she loves me, too. My wife loves her even more.
  • The only good air-conditioner in Jamie’s apartment is the one that is in the bedroom where I slept. Of course, this one had to be turned on to the max to help cool down the rest of the place. I told Jamie to call the local meat market and rent it out. You could hang meat in her bedroom and it wouldn’t rot for a year. I’m still shivering.
  • Kim, a local DJ who works with Jamie, is gorgeous. I so enjoyed meeting her and watching her spin CD’s at “Coconuts” while we all danced until the place closed. Why did Kim keep announcing that it was my birthday? Did August come early this year?
  • When Coconuts closes, there is always Hog’s to go to until it closes when the sun rises. And, the dancing there is great, too.
  • Josh can dance like mad.
  • We had very little time to just “talk” about stuff that we wanted to share with each other.
  • Jamie, the Christ statue in the water was made out of concrete, for Pete’s sake. If His eyes had moved to meet yours, wouldn’t that have freaked you out more?
  • The Copper Kettle has the best Key Lime pie on the face of the universe. If you don’t believe me, just ask Shawn (the “Key Lime Queen”).
  • EVERYONE in the upper Florida Keys knows Jamie.
  • Neal needs to do something about that car out front.
  • I think I taught Jamie (maybe more accurately, Shawn), how to make an awesome steak on a George Foreman grill.
  • The Elks Club in Key Largo is nice and all, but I feel more comfortable just getting drunk at the one back home. (Not to mention, the bartenders here never try to “scam” me on my change!)
  • K.C. and I “bond.” And, I enjoyed meeting Jack, another of Jamie’s bosses, too.
  • Why does everyone there think I am Jamie’s brother? I’m flattered, really, but for crying out loud, I’ll soon hit the big 5-0.
  • I reflect… Jamie got her personality from me. Fortunately, she got her looks from her mom.

I could come up with more, but kiddo, I don’t want your journal friends to yawn any longer. The only other thing I would like to say is that I am blessed with three wonderful daughters. Each of them is different in so many ways, but each of them brings a joy to me and my wife that is immeasurable. I am so proud of Jamie and her career. I am more proud that she is my daughter. I love her greatly. She is special, and so is Shawn, too. ...Daddy

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