He gave me a love for "oldie's" music, 50's and early 60's stuff. Of course he tried to explain to me that it hasn't always been called "oldie's music" because when he was a kid it was just "music". (I'm beginning to understand that more now when, say, Journey comes on the radio. HannahKate rolls her eyes and sighs, "How did you ever listen to that stuff?" which makes me realize that its been 20+ years since that song was released. But it my mind, it seems like just yesterday.)
He taught me that the only color for a Jeep is red. Anything else is sissy and a disgrace to the Jeep name. Actually, he taught me that most anything is better in red...cars, front doors, bedrooms...you name it.
He gave me an appreciation for Piet Mondrian, Frank Lloyd Wright, stained glass, Charles Schultz's Peanuts and Saint Bernards.
My mother was an excellent cook, but she was a "southern cook" who made everything from scratch and didn't use recipes. The only things I can make from scratch is meatballs and tunafish gravy with waffles (I've mentioned this before, so there's no need to tell me how disgusting it sounds. Don't knock it 'till you try it.) My dad is the one who showed me how to do those.
When I was in second grade and we moved to Washington state for a temporary job assignment, he didn't want the company to be charged rent on furniture we didn't really need. So he used all of the moving boxes to create an L-shaped playhouse for me in our empty formal dining room. It even had a "room with a window" at one end that you could stand up in and play "FoxPhoto Drive-Thru". (I'm not sure why that fascinated me, but I'd never seen one in Texas so I thought they must be glamorous.)
When I went to school in Mexico for a summer, my dad wrote me a letter every single day. If you've ever been away from home, you know what a treasure it is to get mail...every day. They weren't long letters, just a paragraph or two, and each one contained a randomly generated phrase from a Spanish computer program, such as "Donde esta el bano?" or "Me gusta tomar la cerveza." Priceless.
I've never been Daddy's Little Princess (as a matter of fact, I told everyone in my kindergarten class I was Daddy's Little Dummy...what? I thought that was a good thing when I was 5), but I've always known my dad loved me and I've been blessed by the sacrifices he made to ensure that I had every opportunity to succeed. For this and so much more, I am very thankful.