ever since i was little, i've loved the ugly underdog.
i've always gravitated towards the runt of the litter, picked the ugliest christmas tree in the lot and held the ugly and misshapen close to my heart.
and my dad totally got that.
he had this wonderful habit of buying me sweet, little unexpected gifts.
sometimes it was something as simple as an orange creamsicle from the gas station on road trips.
or as surprising as a pair of shoes on a random mall shopping trip (i wore those shoes until they fell apart.)
a russian nesting doll from seattle, a pink quartz in the shape of a heart, an engraved wooden jewelry box from wallowa lake - completely random and utterly useless little treats.
but they were always unique and perfect for me.
i'll never forget the day he brought home the ugly frog.
i don't really remember how old i was (though i'm reasonably certain i was past the 'useless knick knack stage.')
dad and mom had gone to the state fair that day.
they loved to browse the different booths, where dad discovered a glass blower he fell in love with (dad loved art.)
the artist had a whole menagerie of glass reptiles: frogs, lizards, etc.
dad had picked up a blue lizard with me in mind when he spotted a separate table for the 'accidents.'
the experiments that didn't turn out right.
or as the sign said, 'the ugly frogs.'
and dad bought one of them for me, knowing that i would absolutely love one.
i still remember unwrapping it. i squealed with glee when i saw it's tiny, misshapen little body.
and laughed at how wonky and weird it was.
it sat on my dresser until i moved out, when it got packed in a box with other treasures that my grandma norma had bought for me on her travels.
we had been living in our house a total of maybe three days when dad died.
we were still in the process of unpacking the 'useless' stuff - the picture frames and books...various things that weren't essential to daily life.
when we finally got around to putting together a new bookshelf, i pulled out the ugly frog and its blue lizard friend and put them next to a picture of dad.
and that's where they'll stay.
i think that's what i miss most about dad.
he got me.
he understood my weird sense of humor.
laughed at my sarcastic (and frankly, damn funny) jokes.
he was fascinated by the things that fascinated me.
i don't think there will ever be anyone that will know me quite like he did (not even nate - though he's close.)
i'll miss him everyday. always.