His spirit jumped out at you at first. It grabbed you with both hands by the shirt collar and lifted you up to meet with his glinting blue eyes. With dominance in place, his expression would soften to look you over, head to toe, with kindness. That spirit loved to laugh, and wise-cracking, well, that was second nature. But the cracks were always funny, suiting the temperament of this Irish rogue of a fellow.
But in the next moment, his temper might flare with red blazes. That short fuse kept me in my place. But it was a happy place on most occasions.
His wit obscured a fine intelligence that spiraled about in his head, looking for amusement in all the likely places. Books strewn around the room attested to his voracious appetite for knowledge, and crossword puzzles, neatly folded and stuffed in his well worn dictionary assured me of his high pursuits.
To outward appearances he was a grump, surly with sales clerks and quick to call the paper boy in a huff if his Gazette was late in arriving. But buried in that tough exterior glimmered a heart of gold, but a heart pained by life. I knew there were secrets hovering inside his soul I couldn't dare to imagine. So I satisfied myself with the man I could see–the giant leprechaun with a sparkle in his eyes, towering above me and yet not ashamed to show me the world with measured explanations of its fine points. This complicated man who sought laughter with a little girl and yet had seen the worst life dishes out taught me the best he had to offer, as well he should, since he was my Dad.