Abu el Banat

There’s an episode of The West Wing where President Bartlet describes a trip his family took to Egypt, where the Bedouin guide kept introducing him to locals as “Abu el Banat.”  The locals would then offer him tea, because it seemed “the least they could do.”

Abu el Banat means “Father of Daughters.”

My dad is also a Father of Daughters.

On my first trip to Disney, he took 2-year-old me on It’s a Small World, by himself.  When the ride was over, I started crying.  “I want to see more dollies!”

He took me on the ride again.  And again.  I still love that ride.

My dad loves sports, and played basketball and football in school.  Neither my sister nor I were ever great athletes, although we did both end up lettering, me in tennis and her in swimming.  My dad has been playing tennis with me basically since I was big enough to hold a racket.  I liked playing tennis in high school, but just hitting around with my dad has always been my favorite.  We don’t play points, we just rally.  My dad says the objective is to hit the ball right back at him, so he doesn’t have to run around the court.  Mostly, I oblige.

My dad is well-versed in Babysitter’s Club lore, because I had literally hundreds of those books as a pre-teen.  And he read practically all of them.  I should ask him which babysitter was his favorite.  I would guess Kristy or Mary Anne.

My dad was always a big hit at the sleep-overs my sister or I had growing up.  He would make pancakes for the group of sleepy girls in the morning, and he makes the best pancakes.  I believe “These are better than my mom’s!” was heard more than once from various friends.

So here’s to fathers, but especially those long-suffering fathers of little girls.  They sure do their best even when they’re in way over their heads.  Love you, Dadman.

I sent my dad this ecard today.
I sent my dad this ecard today.

Father’s Day with the Dadman


I am lucky enough to have a wonderful dad, and I am lucky enough to live close to my parents so I was able to spend Father’s Day with him. Somehow when I was growing up, he developed the nickname “Dadman.”  I don’t really remember how.  In any case, he is the Dadman.  Goo goo g’joob.  The image at left is a card I made for him several years ago for Father’s Day.  The inside reads, “Hey, Darth Vader was a father, too!”

I may look like my mother, but I get a lot of my personality from my dad.  Reading is his favorite pastime (along with watching college sports), and he owns pretty much the complete works of Louis L’Amour.  When I was growing up, he read every book that I read.  At the time, I thought it was weird that a grown man was reading The Babysitters’ Club, but now I see that he was trying to relate to me, to understand my worldview, while also passively monitoring my information intake without censoring it.

We took Dadman to the Akron Zoo for Father’s Day this year, and we had a really nice time.  Akron has a lovely little zoo; you can walk the whole thing in a couple of hours, which is just the right length for small children.  They have improved the exhibits tremendously in the 15 years I have been in NE Ohio.  In fact, there have been improvements since I worked there several years ago! There are no monkeys or free-roaming savannah areas, but you can get within feet of a jaguar, feed goats and sheep, and wander through some stellar gardens.  Their new aquatic exhibit, Journey to the Reef, was very interesting–it includes jellyfish, various kinds of corals, a 4-ft. octopus, and clownfish (MOM IT’S NEMO!).  There is also a touch tank with rays at the end.  Next year, they are planning on opening another whole section of the zoo called Grizzly Ridge.

We ate lunch in the Komodo Kingdom cafe, and while it was a little expensive, I was very impressed with the food.  I had a good quality hotdog (advertised as local meat) and a side salad with lots of nice mixed greens–no iceberg here.  They had little Father’s Day activity sheets on the cafe tables for kids to do with Mad Libs and coloring.  Naturally, my husband and I did one also:

Well, I don’t recall my dad ever making pizza or sleeping in a spotted tent, but he is pretty awesome!