kinder gently tucks his little ones in when playing dad.
“a gentle heart is tied with an easy thread.”
i remember my dad standing right here
when i was 2 years old
we lived in chicago
he was so young
just starting out in his career
i remember the bar in our basement
climbing up into the stools
the candle wrapped in netting
the straw hats on the wall
and i remember
he loved to be the life of the party.
“it doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”
happy father’s day to all
children’s book author roald dahl and his daughter, lucy
What If Willy Wonka Was Your Dad?
Roald Dahl’s Magical Parenting With Food
“food was a huge part of our upbringing,” lucy dahl says. her father delighted his children with fanciful “midnight feasts” in the woods and often used mealtime to test out new characters from stories he was working on.
three-course dinner chewing gum.
fizzy lifting drinks.
these, of course, are the creations of willy wonka, who himself is the creation of author roald dahl. food is a huge part of his work, and as it turns out, dahl’s creative and sometimes twisted approach to food wasn’t confined to his books.
“food was a huge part of our upbringing,” says dahl’s daughter lucy.
tn this week’s episode of the sporkful podcast, ahead of father’s day, lucy shares stories of the witch’s potions that accompanied bedtime, the cabbage her father said came straight from the queen’s garden, and being woken up in the middle of the night to eat chocolate.
“everything about our childhood was eccentric,” she says, “although we didn’t realize it at the time because it was just normal to us.” lucy dahl is 51 now, but she still bursts with childlike glee when she recalls her father’s “midnight feasts.”
he’d wake the kids up in the middle of the night and pile them into the car – which was full of hot chocolate and cookies – and drive them up the road in the english countryside where they lived.
then they’d walk in to the woods in their pajamas to look for badgers.
“you couldn’t talk, and he’d say, ‘nobody move! and if you’ve got an itch, blow on it. try and hold your breath, try not to breathe!’ ” lucy recalls. “and sure enough, mr. badger would come prowling out and walk right past us. it was incredibly exciting.”only once they had seen an animal could they tuck in to their sweet feast.”and then,” lucy says, “we’d all go home, back to bed, delighted.”
roald dahl kept his kids entertained during normal eating hours, too. he often used mealtime to test out new characters from stories he was working on.”the minpins lived in the woods beyond our house,” lucy remembers, referring to one of her father’s last books, about a tiny people who live inside trees. “the BFG – the big friendly giant – lived underneath our orchard. it all coincided with what we ate. for breakfast were minpins’ eggs and fried bread. but what they actually were were quail eggs.”
just as roald dahl used stories to bring food to life at home, he used food to bring characters to life in his books. willy wonka’s fizzy lifting drinks aren’t just a fun idea – they also tell us something about who he is. in fantastic mr. fox, the three mean farmers who are out to get mr. fox are described only by their body shapes and their diets.
so this father’s day, wake your kids up in the middle of the night, take them into the woods in their pajamas to look for badgers, load them full of chocolate, then put them back to bed.
“even though you’re growing up,
you should never stop having fun. “
– nina dobrev
credits: npr, the spoon, the sporkful, dan pashman, m.haircloth
watched an episode
of this iconic show
in honor of my late father’s birthday.
he told me a secret
about this agency
when i was young.
he showed me his special
man from u.n.c.l.e. card.
told me not to tell anyone.
i was always fascinated by the world of spies.
made perfect sense to me
i thought advertising was his cover
why he traveled so much.
told everyone i knew immediately
told them not to tell anyone.
they told everyone they knew immediately
with the same request.
when i got married
i asked him about it.
he told me
that he thought
i had figured it out long ago.
we laughed for a long time.
the most incredible imagination
he always made me laugh.
i still laugh
even when i think about him now.
little guy in my class
all of the things
he wants to become
make delicious food
the ballerinas are so beautiful
i want to marry them
make pretty things
monsters, aliens, bugs
see the whole world
make up new things
tell stories to people
how many can i be?
there is something
that i really, really
need to be the most
i need to be a dad
i have to be a dad for my daddy
he doesn’t have one
i think i’ll be
he needs a daddy
the great man is he who does not lose his child’s-heart. ~mencius
image credits: dailymail.co.uk, getty images
in memory of my father, a funny and gentle man
who was about as far as you could get from a bad ass.
he was just my dad
who was a busy madman in the ad world during the week.
who i watched this movie with,
along with every other
wwll, madcap comedy, western, and crime caper,
on saturday afternoons.
in our family room,
with sandwiches, and burnt popcorn and lemonade.
thanks for the gifts
of shared time,
a boundless imagination,
and a love of the magic of the movies.
For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.
today is my father’s birthday and he’s gone now, but never forgotten.and whenever i see the show, ‘mad men’, i think of him. the look, the feel, the era – that was our life growing up. we lived in the twirly, swirling world of advertising.
my dad, in the left forefront, in a very important lunch meeting
we had cocktail parties at our suburban detroit house, hosting automotive clients and friends and all sorts of interesting characters. there were martinis and dresses and canapés and jazz and laughs long into the night. i once saw him put on a horrible wig and wear it like nothing was unusual, just to get a reaction. we would sneak down in our pajamas and sit on the stairs, just to be a part of all the hullabaloo.
on regular nights, we were always pitching ideas to him around the dinner table and suggesting musical lyrics, tag lines, and concepts for commercials. we never realized he was a media guy in the business, and that all of our creative gestures did not have any impact, other than making him laugh.
he was a tall, blonde, happy guy, who married my mother, a tiny, dark strong italian, and he was no match for her really. i remember him working a lot, traveling, and he could not fix a thing around the house or cook an egg or plant a tree, but he could tell a story, and he could talk anyone into buying anything, and he was very good at what he did everyday in the office – a man absolutely born to the job.
on saturdays, i watched every western and wwll movie with him, just so we could hang out together on the couch. and he would tell me made-up stories about the old stars. to this day, i remember the music from ‘the dirty dozen,’ and i can name every cowboy ever on television. he took my sisters and i on ‘one-on-one daddy/daughter dates’, where we got to choose what we did, and i frequently picked sharing a milkshake, his favorite, and going to a funny movie with him, just to hear him laugh.
he had the same name as a local television host, a former hollywood bit-player, who hosted a popular movie show. and even though they looked nothing like each other, we always had good tables when going out to dinner, for when he made reservations, restaurants frequently thought he was the same guy, and he never told them any different. he cheerfully signed autographs all the time for people when they discovered his name, and they somehow imagined him to be the same person.
when i was little, he showed me his ‘official man from u.n.c.l.e. identification card,’ and told me it was top secret, that he was really a spy, and not to tell anyone. it made sense to me as he had to travel a lot, and i figured advertising was the perfect cover. i always loved, spies, and mysteries and crime stories, and i was so excited that i immediately told everyone i came in contact with, and swore them to secrecy too. when i was much older, and i brought it up, he said that one of his clients, chevrolet, had sponsored the show, and they had given him the i.d. card as a fun promotional gift. and i loved him for letting me imagine.
dad on the right involved in some schmoozing and story-telling
interesting that i ended up in the same business, through a very circuitous route, many years later. guess it was in my blood, though i was on the creative and promotions side of the ad world, where i had to tell stories and get people to buy my product – not cars, but instead, movies and plays and parades and circuses – pure entertainment. experiences where they could suspend reality for a bit and just let their imaginations roam free.
and when he offered me media suggestions, they did not have any impact, other than making me laugh. happy birthday dad, and thanks for all of the memories, both the ones that were real and the ones you created for me.
Don Draper: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK. – (Season 1, Episode 1 – Mad Men)