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Opinion: Missing my dad

This is Fathers’ Day weekend. I have deep envy for people who still have their fathers in their lives.

Many people remember my dad. I really enjoy it when people remember and tell me stories about him. It almost lets me touch him one more time.

He had an interesting career as a door-to-door milkman. His kids never cared very much for milkman jokes.

Daddy would enter people’s houses to leave the milk order in their refrigerators. Other homes might have special boxes in the shade or on a back porch where he could leave his merchandise.

My tender-hearted dad usually had balances due on the books he couldn’t collect. Families with kids needed milk even if the parents couldn’t or wouldn’t pay their bill. This was in the days before food stamps and his conscious wouldn’t allow these kids to go hungry.

He was an excellent salesman and his volume of sales made up for the bills Quality Dairy couldn’t collect. My dad could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. I know this phrase is all kinds of politically incorrect, but that doesn’t make it any less true. He had a knack for up-selling his good customers who didn’t know they needed a half-gallon of Jungle Juice or another dozen eggs before he asked them about it.

I have a very good friend whose maiden name is Karen Puccini whose dad, Les, also worked at the dairy. She’s my sister Karen Ann and I’m her sister Tami Jo. We have always called ourselves the QDDs. (Quality Dairy Daughters.)

One of the coolest things about being a QDD was having access to the key that operated the gas pumps at the back of the bottling plant. A tank full of gas made for a great Saturday night! The gas was about 20 cents a gallon, slightly cheaper than the self-serve stations in Madera.

We really tried not to abuse the privilege but we were kids, with newly minted driver’s licenses, so all these years later I’m not sure how successful we were.

Our dads were pretty cool about it, so we never had to bug them for gas money.

My dad did his best to take care of my two brothers, Rock and Brian Hill, and me. Daddy attended as many of my brothers’ little league, Babe Ruth and high school sporting events that he could.

His best friends, Tom and Marge Kocoris, lived across the street from Madera High School on South N Street. He and Mom always said they “stood up” with them when they got married.

In our house, close family friends were addressed by either their surnames or the honorific “Uncle” and “Aunt.” Uncle Tom and Auntie Marge were two of such people.

Another couple who earned such respect were my Aunt Mary and Uncle Dick Dal Cerro.

Their son, Jeff, an attorney, is the smartest person I know. When we were children, we planned to grow up to be president and vice president or maybe president and first lady.

I seriously doubt I could have ever attained that goal; I’m convinced Jeff could!

Treasure your dads and uncles this Fathers’ Day! Sadly, you won’t have them forever.

Long days and pleasant nights, love your dad and have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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