Father’s Day 2011 style is a bit of a strange mixture for me this year. Can’t quite tap into what that mixture involves necessarily, but there’s a twinge of sadness, a bit of nostalgia, some grins as I remember, and a few tears I might add.

It’s sort of a whole kaleidoscope of what was, what wasn’t, what is, what can’t ever be.

I’m sure you’ve had some of those moments you just can’t explain when a certain day comes up and leaves you grinning, or turns on the tears.

My dad died many years back. Nearing the quarter century mark. It’s funny how the date of his birthday shows up each year, and there’s nothing to celebrate in a sense, and yet, much.

He was a good dad. Had no doubt he loved me. Well, there were moments, I suppose. I caught a glimpse of doubt when he confronted me about some mischief I might have been into. Maybe. Uh, yes. Usually, the latter, the confession, was followed shortly thereafter by a spanking.

Then I was pretty sure I had a mean dad. Probably meanest in the world, hun.

But I honestly can say I knew my dad loved me. We had silly times, lots of tough times, even more good times. We had a small family, and I know so very little about his side since his parents were the immigrant family, and they would answer my questions about where they were from by saying, “The Old Country.” Grandma Baldinus often add the words, “Never mind!” rather firmly to that answer as well.

Turns out they were born in what had been Hungary. Now Slovakia.

My dad had one brother. Larry. Killed at Guadalcanal during World War II. My dad’s obituary said he had two sisters who died in “the Old Country.” Until I read his obit, I never knew they existed.

Still know nothing more about them. No names. No reason. And yet, I still wonder who they were, how old they were, how come no one ever talked about my “aunts.” Did they die at birth? Maybe in a war?

There’s no one left who knows the story, and thus it’s likely I’ll never know.

I chalked that up for sadness too for my dad. If he knew, he never said. I find that sad. For both of us.

And then a few years after my dad died, I sort of “inherited” another dad. My mom married a good, Christian man. Even at my age at the time, I wasn’t really done having a dad when my own dad got sick with cancer and was called home.

So here was my new one. Deep in my heart I believe he was a good man. And is. Cared dearly about mom, about us, even gave me away on my wedding day back nearly 15 years ago.

He said the one thing he worried about after mom died “first,” was that there would be no one to put flowers on his grave some day. I assured him I would. And on my mom’s and on my dad’s, and on my second dad’s wife’s grave as well.

Did it this Memorial Day. Kept the promise. And will as long as I’m able. He’s 94 now, I believe. But a promise is a kindness kept in my book. As long as I am able.

So it is this day, this Father’s Day, I thank God for the men in my life. Dad and dad, of course, but also my husband, my sons and grandsons. Grandpas and uncles. One by one I think on each, as though picking them like flowers out of a memory garden and looking closely at each and remembering. Just remembering. You too? Me too.