My father has taught me many lessons throughout the years, among them to develop a sense of humor.
One of my very favorite moments with Dad occurred during the summer of '72. Still in my early teens, I was mischievous, precocious but not too obnoxious.
Dad was in the basement cleaning out the window wells from inside, plucking leaves and dead bugs from the enclosed space. Outside and topside by the pool, I spotted a bottle of Coppertone suntan lotion. The white, milky kind...perfect for my plan.
As his hand protruded from the window, I aimed and gently squeezed one drop of the lotion onto the back of his hand. His hand quivered as if an electric charge had passed through it. He quickly withdrew his hand, uttering, "Sunofabitch...damn bird!" along with a few other choice words.
Never mind the frantic rummaging going on down below with a bucket being knocked over; I'm topside with my free hand over my mouth, stifling my laughter and proud of my ingenuity with this prank.
A minute later, Dad's hand re-emerged to continue the cleaning. I squeezed off another drop, nailing the back of his hand in virtually the same spot. His hand quivered again. "What the...? DAMNED BIRD!!"
Oh, I lost it at that point. Had one of those laughs where you actually double over as it almost hurts. Dad heard my laugh, poked his head out amidst the leaves and bugs...and I laughed even harder at that sight. Priceless.
He looked up at me and I jiggled the Coppertone bottle to show him it wasn't bird poo but Coppertone goo that did the dirty deed.
"Thomas Kramer..." he said, before he cracked a smile. He made his way up to the pool where he gave me a little hug - now laughing.
"Good one, huh?" I asked as I hugged him back.
"A really good one," he said, wiping a happy tear away away from his eye, "I would have done the same thing if given the chance."
Happy Father's Day to all of you dads and granddads out there.