It's been just over 6 months since my father passed away, and I'm just now starting to feel like I'm ready to write about him. The thought of NOT writing stuff about him has been stressful, because part of me thinks I need to somehow record all of the memories I have of him before they start to fade. Well, I'm happy to say that so far they haven't faded at all. They make me smile, cry, and laugh every single day. When someone isn't around any longer it's amazing how many things remind you of them.
There are just SO many things that make me think of my Dad, I could write a post every day this year about all of them and not be done. But one has been in the front of my mind the last few days, so I thought I'd start with it: the Cooper slap.
A couple of years ago I flew back home to Pittsburgh for a family funeral. My Dad picked me up at the airport. After I finally found him (silly me for not realizing that since a beer is cheaper than a cup of coffee in the airport I should have gone straight to the bar, even if it was 10:30am!) we headed out to the parking garage. As we were pulling out, he suddenly slowed the car down and gave me a light slap on the arm and said "Cooper Slap". He then pointed to the Mini Cooper we were passing, and said that he was updating the old game of punch buggy as Cooper Slap, and was trying to get it to catch on. I just rolled my eyes and shook my head, the standard reaction to many of the strange things that came out of his mouth on a regular basis.
Two days later he and my Mom were driving me back to the airport, this time at night. He was completely caught off guard when I leaned forward from the back seat to slap him on the arm and call out "Cooper slap" as a Mini Cooper passed us. Caught off guard, but then he was just beaming. He leaned over to my Mom in the front seat and said "See, it's catching on!"
Whenever I saw him after this, I was always looking for a Cooper, just like I used to look for punch buggies as a kid. I think that was one of my favorite things about my Dad--the way he could always help you find that silly, child-like happiness. That was one of the biggest traits of his personality (and believe me, his personality was BIG!) and definitely my favorite.
If you took the time to read this, I wonder if the next time you see a Mini Cooper the "Cooper Slap" will pop into your head. If it does, please take a minute to slap the nearest person. It just might catch on after all.