But instead, while race-walking to yoga and writing the piece in my head, I thought about my dad.
When Jslow got “The Call” a few weeks back, I was rocketed back in time to when I got “The Call” from my mom. A few months later, my dad died of cancer in the ICU. He was only 59.
My dad was a man of few words, but had a sense of humor drier than the beef jerky he loved to eat. He also loved a good prank. The “bed” was a favorite locale: Once up in Tahoe, he put toy cars in the bed I was sharing with my friend Kelly. When dad tired of my brother’s habit of dropping Pop Shoppe bottle caps directly into the utensil drawer, he unloaded the caps in Brad’s bed, making for a very unpleasant slumber.
Dad loved to cap on my clothes. “Did you lose a bet” was his favorite refrain.
My mom always said he secretly got a kick out of my attire, and asked me to wear something outlandish to his memorial service in his honor. Very small short-alls and very tall platform sneakers were involved.
So much reminds me of my dad this time of year. I used to love to watch March Madness with him in our living room in Fremont, cheering on the Wizard of Westwood and the UCLA Bruins, sharing salami on Ritz crackers.
Basketball was central to our lives. My dad, Al Mangin, played weak-side forward for COP (now UOP, University of Pacific) and coached varsity basketball at San Lorenzo High School for 38 years. I myself peaked basketball-wise in the 8th grade, but did play high school and some city league ball years later. I always hated the uniforms, and would cut off the sleeves and alter them as much as possible.
My dad could care less about clothes. He pretty much lived in sweats. For games and fancy occasions (my dad did not fancy being fancy) he wore cords, a v-neck sweater and wing-tips. In the late ’70s he busted out the baby blue leisure suit. He was not a leisure suit guy.
He loved the fact that I dressed a bit wild and did my own thing, even though it was a constant source of his ribbing. He encouraged my brother and I to do what we loved no matter what, and that constant support meant we could take risks and not risk being unloved.
Although his nods to fashion were purely accidental, here are updated versions of two of his favorites: The Varsity Jacket and white Chuck Taylors. Maybe they will inspire you. He continues to inspire me everyday.