Dad Valjean: Another Tribute
1. Overture/Work Song
This week, it’s time to honour my dad. It’s a big week for him: Father’s Day is on Sunday AND he officially announced his retirement! As my dad is a HUGE fan of Les Misérables–both novel and musical–I thought I would give him a Les Miz themed post using some of the song titles from our favourite show.
My pops has practised law for 41 years. Can you imagine? People always ask me, ‘Oh, what kind of law does your father practice?’ and I’m like, ‘Errrmmmm, I’m not sure?’ and they look at me like I’m a terrible daughter and I make a mental note to ask my dad wtf he does, and unfortunately, as with most mental notes, I always forget to ask him (for 33 years), so, no, I still can’t tell you want kind of law he practises, I’m sorry, leave me alone, go away!
All I know is that he carries a briefcase and is always making notes on those yellow legal pads in his tiny, immaculate all-caps handwriting. And he goes to court! Additionally, and most importantly, I know that my dad has always been ready and willing to use his law acumen to help friends in need. So he’s, like, one of those nice lawyer types.
2. I Dreamed a Dream
One of my dad’s most distinctive features is his outrageous snoring capacity. Like, seriously, he is SO LOUD. When I went college-tripping with him in high school we had to share a hotel room, and I don’t think I slept for a week. I had to keep an artillery of pillows in a line on my bed to periodically hurl across the room at him during the night.
Of course, he’s tried all sorts of ‘remedies’ to no effect. One device my mom got for him involved electrocution each time he snored. He slept through that.
3. Lovely Ladies
Dad has three lovely ladies in his life! But we’re not prostitutes! The Les Miz analogy can’t be taken too literally!
Dad has a wife (my mom) and two daughters (one of those daughters is ME!), and I think he likes us. Even though we’re all short and very stubborn. He usually suffers our antics in dignified silence. He’s a very patient man.
4. Come to Me
My Dad loves fishing (get it? like, luring fishes to ‘come to you’?). He called me his ‘Little Wrangler’ and frequently took me out to the lake (we threw them all back!!!). We used crickets as bait, and my dad always dutifully put them on the hook for me (ewww!). He’s also an accomplished deep sea fisherman, leaving me behind to catch the real deals down in the Keys.
5. Master of the House
More like master around the house! My dad is incredibly handy. He shows exceptional skill in hanging old English oil paintings and fixing broken porcelain. One time he even managed to remove some dead rats from a crawl space in our attic whilst suffering from a stomach bug. The man knows no limits of helpfulness.
6. Look Down
Well, my dad pretty much has to because he has massive eyebrows! They are truly formidable. Like Eugene Levy style. Luckily, he managed to pass them down to his daughter. I used to hate them, but these days I’m grateful to represent some strong brow action; it’s nice to have unique features. Thanks, Dad!
7. Do You Hear the People Sing?
Dad gets fixated on songs. Like, on one song and one song only. Then he will play it on repeat until the end of time. Years. One of his favourite songs is ‘Mr Jones’ by the Counting Crows. I bought him the album (on which Mr Jones is really the worst song maybe) and he REFUSED to listen to any other track. Another favourite song is the classic Meatloaf epic, ‘I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’. (You won’t do what, Meatloaf??? Why don’t you ever say???? Why is this song so cryptic?!). I got Dad that album too–he’s probably not missing out by only listening to that one track.
Dad hates opera (‘What’s the screaming coming out of your bedroom? Horrible!’) and jazz, but he loooooooooooooooooooves a good musical. This is lucky since he had to go see every performance I was ever in. He also took me to see a billion musicals growing up. We went to see Les Miz for the first time when I was about 5 or 6, and I remember him putting me in my fancy coat and telling me that I looked like little Cosette (*tears*).
8. A Heart Full of Love
Speaking of tears, my dad is one of those wonderfully sensitive men. He loves RomComs and (I think) all the period dramas my mother and I forced on him over the years. And the Hallmark Channel. He’s so sweet and thoughtful–especially with his wife. Still, after 47 years together, he frequently sends and brings her flowers. He’s always looking for little ways to make her life easier.
9. On My Own
This is what Dad is EARLY IN THE MORNING. None of the rest of us are ‘morning people’–least of all me and my mother–so Dad has always been on his own in getting up before dawn. Actually, now that I think about it, that must be why he does it! To have a fresh morning’s peace before the onslaught of….us!
Every morning he gets up, takes the dogs out, feeds them, unloads the dishwasher, and makes the coffee… all in what must be heavenly, still silence. Then, when I was in high school, he’d march up the stairs towards my room and I’d scream, ‘I’M UP, I’M AWAKE’ (I was not, I was lying, I was definitely still in bed sleeping) and he’d burst in and obnoxiously turn on the light and fling the duvet off my prostrate body and tell me to GET UP.
Jerk! Enjoy your mornings alone!
10. Drink With Me
Dad, a vanilla ice cream kind of a guy, is a big fan of classic, weak piss-flavoured lagers like Bud, Heineken, and Stella. Recently, however, he has ‘discovered’ Blue Moon. Although I haven’t had a Blue Moon in about a decade, I guess it’s a step in the right direction? I seem to recall having him try a hefeweizen back in my hef and wheat beer phase and he complained that it was ‘too fruity and weird’. Well, I guess he’s gotten fruitier and weirder in his old age, ’cause he just chucks that orange slice in there and goes for it these days!
11. Dog Eats Dog
Well, not really … I’m just gonna use this title to say that Dad loves dogs! We always had dogs growing up (you know, that inferior version of cats), and they were clearly Dad’s favourite family members. In fact, he would often call me by one of the dog’s names accidentally. In FACT, my name usually came to him after he had listed all three dogs and my brother and sister’s names first.
I’ll never forget going with Dad to put our sweet, perfect baby Avery down at the vet. We were both very visibly emotional but didn’t feel the need to talk about it. It was an awful day, but I was grateful to be able to share the pain in silence with my dad.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all-things-Phil, but I think I’ve gone on long enough (and he will possibly fall asleep before he reaches the end).
In short, I love you, Dad. You’ll always be my Jean Valjean. I am proud of all you’ve accomplished, and hope that you are finally able to sois calme.
x Your Little One
This is too fabulous. Tears and laughter from a rememberer! Very emotional reading this.
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Makes me remember how your dad used to vacuum the dog hair off the couch before I’d come over (to prevent me having an allergy meltdown). Thanks, Phil, and congrats on your retirement!
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Hahahaha I very nearly mentioned his vacuuming skillz!!!! Your poor allergies… 😂
I am truly touched Little One. You will always by my little Cosette. I miss you very much and wish we could go fishing and to another musical together. I do think that you and your mother have greatly exaggerated my alleged snoring. Could be fake news. Thank you for being my daughter. I love you.
I am truly touched Little One. You will always be my little Cosette. I wish we could go fishing or see another musical again. I really miss you. I think the part about my snoring is something you and your mother have blown way out of proportion. It boarders on fake news. I love and miss you very much and can’t tell you how much your comments mean to me. Dad
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Hahaha love you, Dad! I so wish we could go to a show – I was singing along the whole time I was writing ❤️❤️❤️
How clever you are and what a wonderful tribute to an even more wonderful man. You have truly been blessed to have him as your beloved father. And I’m sure he would think himself the luckiest guy in the world to call you his daughter. So many wonderful memories with your special family. Love to you all❤️
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Awww thank you so much, Debbie! ❤️
Thank you Debbie. Please give my love to David and your girls.
Aaaw that’s sweet Ali
Sent from my iPhone
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