Dear Daddy,

As Father's Day approaches, I think of you often, although it's been 10 years since you left. Snippets of your life flood my mind. I loved spending time watching you paint and create signs at your small shop on Houston Street in New York.

If you were here I'd say, "Hey, Dad, remember when you cut off a rectangle from where you tested paint colors, framed it in a gold leaf frame, named it 'Manhattan Rumble' and put it in the store window? We laughed every time someone offered you hundreds of dollars for it."

Remember the day Mom had to go to traffic school and you and I had a chance to spend time together? You took me out to breakfast - I think I had pancakes - then we got in the car.

"Let's go buy your Mom a gift," you said, your blue eyes twinkling. On the way to the mall, you pointed out signs you'd made. Even though I'd seen them many times, I just laughed, saying, "That was a great one, Dad," knowing how much that meant to you. When we got to the department store, you asked me to help you pick out a watch for Mom. Turning to me after we'd decided you said, "OK, now pick out one you like."

"I don't need another watch, Dad." Shaking your head you said, "Nonsense, every girl needs a new watch." You never denied me anything.

There were too few times where we were able to spend time alone. I've learned that time is valuable and we need to spend it with people who give us joy. How wonderful it would be if I could have breakfast with you one more time.

Sometimes I picture you in my mind, your dark, curly hair, your blue eyes, your easy smile. Some of the stories you told over and over again always made me laugh. If only I could sit by your side and hear those stories again.

One of the favorite stories I tell my friends is when you lived in an apartment in Manhattan. Your next-door neighbor, Armand, was a successful interior designer. You used to buy art books, cut out photographs of famous paintings by Renoir or Van Gogh, mat and then put them in elaborate gold-leaf frames. I would laugh to myself at Armand's fury.

"You can't do that," he would shout at you. Tilting your head, as if you didn't understand what he was concerned about, you would say, "Why not? It's my house."

Mom was lucky. You adored her. I remember how often you sent flowers, how many gifts you bought her. Although she would say, "Oh, why do you send me flowers all the time? They cost so much money," we knew she was pleased.

So, Daddy, wherever you are, I hope you are as happy there as you were on this planet. Now that Mom has gone to meet you, I like to picture the two of you dancing the night away, as you two so much loved doing.

When my time comes to join you, I will look forward to you taking my hand and leading me to that dance floor in the sky.

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