My Dad

My dad was a quiet man. He wasn’t an exuberant fan of any pro or local sports teams. But I do remember him sitting on our fake leather hide-a-bed couch, watching Cubs games on our blonde console TV. Televisions in those days were cumbersome pieces of furniture. My mother stacked Readers Digests on top of ours.

I never saw my dad swing a baseball bat, but he wielded a mean croquet mallet. It sent many a competitor’s wooden ball sailing into our neighbor’s yard. And rather than joining the popular winter bowling leagues, he stayed late after work, one night a week, competing in a checkers club. He also loved pinochle and rummy. He taught me all these games, using very few words. And he never let me win — until I really did. I never participated in sports. But I did become a high school and college debater. I wonder how much the man of few words had to do with that?

tall oak canopy
acorn roots itself below
reaches for new heights


Haibun written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Bjorn asks us to write about sport. A haibun is a piece of prose (cannot be fiction) followed by a haiku. Generally, the haiku must be about nature.


49 thoughts on “My Dad

  1. kim881 June 12, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    You beat me to it today, Lillian! I do love to read about your life in America, often similar but also very different to life over here. I also love to read about your family and friends, and enjoyed this haibun very much. I could picture your dad with the croquet mallet, an oak tree reaching for new heights,
    My dad was sporty: he knew the rules to everything – he was a football referee and coached his own team for a while -, excelling in football, cricket, ice hockey, boxing and swimming. he was also very encouraging when it came to my athletics as I was the only one who was interested in sports out of us three girls.
    Dad and I used to listen to the sports programmes on a little transistor radio when I was little and we would go to watch him play cricket throughout the summer months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 12, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      Oh your dad sounds like a wonderful man — and so fun you could enjoy this side of his interests with him. When you mentioned cricket, I really smiled. While in Bermuda this year, we finally broke down and bought a Cricket for Dummies book. Still can’t say we understand it though. Do teams take breaks when a game lasts beyond one day?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane Dougherty June 12, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    I like the look of your dad. Reminds me a bit of my own. Must be the grin. Coming from the least sporty family in the universe I’m not sure what I can write for this prompt…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 12, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      Well, I wrote about checkers and becoming a debater — so think I have you matched there! 😊. Must say, the first thing that came to mind when I read this prompt was the nursery school rhyme line “and the dish ran away with the spoon.”


      • Jane Dougherty June 12, 2017 / 3:55 pm

        Sport, in my house, was something you watched other people doing. And usually only if you could put a bet on it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 12, 2017 / 3:21 pm

    I thought about the fact that so often sports is about competing, and therefore I used to hate sports until I realized it’s about feeling well… 🙂 Love the story of your father, and that he never let you win.. that is a lesson in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 12, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Yep – I learned a lot from him😊.
      We were at my 9 year granddaughter’s softball game last week. An inning is each girl on the team having a chance to bat — and the coach pitches until the girl hits. Very rare that any girl catches a ball until after it rolls awhile and usually after chasing it — and then when they throw it to a base, it usually goes too far right or left to catch. The “game” was 2 hours — so each team had two rotations of their girls batting. Lots of positive encouragement, learning, parents cheering for both teams and especially when a girl finally hit the ball. Most amazing play of the day was when our granddaughter actually caught a ball on the second bounce and managed to tag someone out at second. The place went wild!! So yep — if sport can be about having fun – I’m for that! 😊


    • lillian June 12, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Thank you, Victoria. To me, he was so quiet and so tall😊. A little girl’s perspective❤


  4. qbit June 12, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    Love the Haiku, really lands the whole picture. Especially the first line — how a father would be a tall oak canopy. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 7:17 am

      I thought it sounded better than “chip off the old block!” 🙂


  5. sarahsouthwest June 12, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    I love that haiku. I think it captures something beautiful about a great father-daughter relationship. What seems to matter is that you spent time together doing something you both enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 7:18 am

      Thank you, Sarah. He really was not a demonstrative sort…and truly a man of few words. But he used to sit patiently and listen to my memorized catechism questions when I was in grade school…makes me smile when I think of him.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bev June 12, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    You’ve turned the challenge into a loving and beautiful tribute to your father, and topped it with a great haiku. He looks like someone I’d want to know. Great write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 7:19 am

      I love this picture of my dad. It’s how I like to remember him.


  7. nosaintaugustine June 12, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    I enjoyed this reminiscence of your father. It’s so nice to think about a parent in terms of their interests and their influences on you. They touch our lives in countless ways. Sounds like you had a good dad who spent time with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 7:19 am

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment here. Truly appreciated!


  8. rosemawrites June 13, 2017 / 1:11 am

    awwww. love the memories in your lines and the smile of your dad. the acorn haiku wraps up the poem so well. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ladynyo June 13, 2017 / 8:15 am

    Lillian, I think we had the same father! and the same blond tv with stacks of Reader’s Digest on top. A totally different era. Loved this haibun…and the haiku was wonderful. Blessings, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 8:30 am

      Did you watch the Lawrence Welk show on yours???😊


  10. frankhubeny June 13, 2017 / 9:38 am

    Those debate teams may be a kind of sport although I’ve never been on such a team. There is at least a competition component to it and a training to help one focus on scoring whatever points are awarded in this game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      Excellent trading in research and self-confidence in speaking. And oh yeah—it was very competitive!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. jillys2016 June 13, 2017 / 10:11 am

    Such a lovely narrative and the oak/acorn metaphor is simply perfect! Debate – why didn’t I think of that? One of my favorite sports. I teach it in my classroom and my competative nature loves the fray!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 12:12 pm

      Ah…kindred spirits are we. I went to college on a debate scholarship. Those were the days we flew out weekends and/or drove many miles to debate tournaments. We carried humongous portable file cabinets with tons of evidence cards, all sorted and organized to pick out as needed to counter an argument — and summer debate camps too. Speakers’ points meant you had to talk intelligibly, quick enough to make it through arguments but not crazy fast — and you actually named your foe’s arguments with words rather than outline points. Our high school team was on WGN TV where they had an Illinois tournament — and we won the whole thing. Fun days!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jillys2016 June 13, 2017 / 4:01 pm

        WOW! I’m thoroughly impressed! You must have spent time in Chi Town, what with your Dad following the Cubbies and WGN.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lillian June 13, 2017 / 5:15 pm

        Grew up in Waukegan, Illinois —- debated in the SIDL league??? Suburban Interdebate League??? Husband grew up right in Chicago (Austin neighborhood). We go back every Thanksgiving. I’ve traveled all over the world, and many places in the US including NY City and Boston and Denver etc. I truly believe that Chicago is an absolute gem architecturally! Went to Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. We had a college debate tournament at Navy Pier….when it was the ugly navy pier with real classrooms etc. Memories! 🙂


  12. jerennazuto June 13, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Your father sounds great and the debate team sounds amazing. The haiku is just so fits. Great Haibun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Joyce Pittman June 13, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    I remember that your Mom and Dad used to take folding chairs to watch Aaron play sports when he was in elementary school. It was nice to see
    a photo of your Dad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 2:49 pm

      Oh Joyce….will NEVER forget how much you helped my dad. Fathers’ Day coming up….makes me miss his quiet ways. Do we romanticize our parents the longer they’re gone? Well….sadly have never romanticized my mother. But — she did give me my love of Christmas and, in all reality, my love to dance 🙂


  14. Victoria C. Slotto June 13, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    What a special haibun, a wonderful opportunity for a tribute to you dad as we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day. When we got our first TV, a 12-inch screen with 3 stations, it was housed in a huge console, black and white of course, and after a certain hour everything turned into snow. The best part was, it kept up playing outside instead of forming couch potatoes. I have no regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 13, 2017 / 8:15 pm

      I so agree! When I was very young, there was a show on called Winky Dink and Me. You sent away for a plastic thing that somehow stuck to the tv screen (like electricity??) and then, there would be a section of the show with a mystery and Winky Dink would give you clues — as in dots — and you used the special crayons they also sent, and connected the dots and found the answer to the mystery. Guess what I did??? Never to see Winky Dink again 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  15. colorfulpen June 13, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Beautiful haibun! Love the oak and acorn metaphor. That photo captures so much character.


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