Have you ever known somebody so interesting, enigmatic and universally loved that they could go by just one name? That was my Dad, “Dickie.” In fact, Dickie had such a quick wit and unique nature he had more followers than friends. When our family was planning a celebration to remember him, friends lovingly referred to the event as “Dickiepalooza!”.
Dickie was one of those guys who preferred to be in his chair at home undisturbed. But when you took him someplace, he was always the funniest, most charming guy in the room. I loved the fact that I was his youngest child and 5th daughter. I felt it gave me a special cache, a claim to fame.
The best part about Dickie was his utter lack of interest in others’ fascination with him. He was just doing what he did. Watching him as I was growing up, I learned many essential lessons about life. Here are a few:
1. Always be generous to those in need. Dickie could not stand to see people or animals suffer. One time, our whole family of 9 was at a busy restaurant and our server, a single Mom, dropped the entire tray of food on her way to serve our table. Immediately, Dickie thought about what a huge dent paying for that lost meal might put in her budget. He paid the bill…TWICE!
2. Always dance. All 5 of us girls attended all-female Catholic high schools that hosted annual Father-Daughter dances. It was Dickie’s favorite night of the year. Very light on his feet and possessing lots of rhythm, Dickie was often the last Dad to leave the dance floor, making his daughters so proud.
3. Always keep people guessing. In some ways, maybe he did like being enigmatic. Dickie loved telling the story about the time he and Mom were eating at a well-known New York City restaurant where my sister-in-law was working (Joe Allen). Because everybody loved Linda, the staff made sure Mom and Dad experienced top-notch service. They were seated near a table that included Jeremy Irons, Charles Grodin and Steve Martin. Dad noticed the 3 actors motion to the server as they were watching his table. While nodding towards my parents, Dickie and Rhetta from Portageville, Missouri, one of these fabulously famous actors asked, “Are they anybody?”.
4. He knew me. My sweet husband told me this the day Dad passed away in 2011. This touched me profoundly because Dad was pretty much a mystery to me. I do know Dickie was generous with his words of praise and one of the things he admired about me was that I was “totally uninhibited.”
So, Cheeky Street is dedicated to my generous, dancing, unique and loving Dad, whose magnetism puts him in the company of other people with one-word monikers such as Sting, Cher and Madonna: the one and only Dickie!!!