Rip  & Mike #2

As Christopher Buckley writes in his extraordinary memoir, Losing Mum and Pup, this indeed is the happiest story there is, that I know at least:

The grandfather dies.  The father dies.  The son dies.

I’m midway through this story and pray it continues as told.  I miss my dad more than words can say.  I am lucky on too many counts to name, but chief by far among my gifts was to to be born to Rip Ruhlman.  The photo above is from the summer of ’68 I’m guessing; I would have been five, he not yet thirty.

Best wishes to all dads today, but best wishes especially to dads who wish they could thank their father but can’t, to all children young and old who miss their dads.

Rip Ruhlman 9/24/38 – 8/09/08



39 Wonderful responses to “Father’s Day”

  • Cali

    My father died a few years ago and, through no fault of my own, I wasn’t even invited to the funeral. His siblings and nearly ex-wife “forgot” to invite me. Well, until ten minutes before the funeral, and it was nearly an hour away. But, by his choice, I barely knew him so it wasn’t the end of the world.

  • Matt

    Thanks for sharing this Michael. My father passed away in 2008 as well; we miss him everyday.

    Eat well, cook often

  • Victoria

    In October my lovely dad will have been dead for four years. Sometimes I feel his presence so close that I turn around as if he’s going to be standing there.

    Those of use who miss our fathers as much as you and I do, Michael, are the lucky ones to have had such great fathers that life is never the same without them.

    My dad was a second generation Italian-American, and my mother was a British WWII bride. I was born in 1947, and for the first ten years of my life was raised in a completely integrated neighborhood near Columbia University in NYC. George Carlin was a few years ahead of me in grammar school, where my classmates were every nationality and ethnicity that you can imagine.

    My favorite birthday card ever came from my dad the year after my mother died. I was in my forties. It was from a line of Hallmark Cards called Mahogany. On the front were four drawings of little adorable African American girls in various stages of play. My dad knew that these little girls were black, but he wasn’t sending me a card for black people, which we are not; he was sending me a card with little curly-headed girls because when I was little, I was a curly-headed girl!

    There is nothing better in the world than growing up in a truly color-blind family.


    I lost my father almost 9 yrs ago this coming fall and I’ve written a Father’s Day post about him as well. I don’t know why I’ve felt his passing more this year than ones past, but I’m grateful to have been his daughter. Thanks for sharing your dad with us!

  • Susan

    It has been nearly four years since I lost my father, who died just four months after my mother. They couldn’t live apart. I miss them both terribly. Thanks for sharing this, it is a hard day for many of us…

  • LyndonH

    My dad died in September 09, I miss him the most on the days I would call him.( Father’s day, Christmas, etc)

  • Mark


    I’m sorry for your loss, I know just how you feel. I lost my father in September of “99, and I haven’t been the same man since. It changes you when you lose your Father. I can’t number the times I have started to go for the telephone to call Dad and get his opinion on something or other. I have missed him at the highlights of my own and my children’s life since his passing.
    When Dad died, I can truthfully say that I was sometimes afraid for the first time in my life. Before, I always knew that Dad would help me in case I ever had a difficulty in my life. I never did….. But just knowing Dad is there is a great comfort.

    God Bless each of you that are celebrating a Fatherless Father day.

  • YOD

    I remember reading that tribute you wrote on this blog when your father passed in 2008, and today’s post choked me up just like original one. You probably hear this all the time, but based on the pictures, you look exactly like your father.

    I am one of those very lucky people who have 2 living parents who are still married to each other and who live nearby. I’m going to go see them this afternoon. Posts like this remind me of how blessed I am. Thanks.

    And happy fathers day to you.

  • Angela

    Wow, you sure look like your Dad.

    My son lost his father when he was just 14 months old. 16 years later it is still a difficult day for all of us.

  • annietiques

    Thank you for the beautiful post……I too am the grateful recipient of having a wonderful father’s love. I lost my father three years ago to pancreatic cancer; my father was in the prime of his life. I have always said that there was no one on earth that I would rather have a conversation with! I am who I am today because of his love, guidance and example.

    Thank you Michael, and much love to you Dad, I miss you……..

  • Elisa

    I lost my father in 1996, to lung cancer as well. I was 16 at the time. I still miss him, especially on days like today, but time does allow me to look back and remember all of the fond memories. Dad was 100% Sicilian and to this day the most adventurous eater I know. I was a picky eater as a kid, and I know he’d be shocked yet delighted to see how I’ve developed a love of cooking and trying new and interesting foods. A huge part of that is thanks to the example I learned from my dad when I was young.

    Thanks for the tribute to all of the dads who are no longer with us.

  • Debbie

    I lost my father two years ago and still miss him terribly. I don’t know if we ever get past the loss. I like you, was blessed to have a wonderful father. He never made a lot of money, but his family never went without. He was a good man who deeply loved his family, immediate and extended, and friends. He also loved my cooking 🙂 especially homemade bread. I miss being able to share with him.

  • Eric

    I lost my father 23 years ago this Christmas, and now that I have two little ones of my own, there’s hardly a day goes by I don’t miss him like my left arm was gone. Still, I take comfort in that being the best dad I can is the only kind of thanks he’d have wanted anyway.

  • Deborah Barocas

    My Dad died when I was 5 years old. He was 29. He was killed in a car accident, and my Mom had 4 children with one on the way. After my sister Jackie was born, my Mom remarried. My step father lived up to the rep., so I wound up living in an orphanage for a couple of years with my sister. I never found anyone close enough to a father figure, probably out of fear. It was hard at times, but I managed somehow. Now as an adult, I’ve acquired two fathers. One is 90, and the other is 85. I have known them for about 25 years, their wives who were like Moms to me have passed on. It is out of sheer luck that I am able to get a glimpse of what it feels like to have a dad, the funny thing is I am from South America, and my fathers are both American. American have always been my heroes… and now I know for sure why.

  • Tiffany Smith

    I love the pic of you and your father. My father just passed away a hr ago.

    • YOD

      Tiffany, I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know what else to say.

    • Victoria

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Losing your dad on Father’s Day is way more than a double whammy. But whatever day it is, it’s not okay. I will say a bedtime prayer for you and your dad.

  • MessyONE

    Michael, you know you’re the hero now, right? I think the best tribute to your father would be to be the kind of guy that your kids write nice things about…. Don’t you?

    Never sell yourself short.

  • bunkycooks

    This is very touching. I also lost my dad over four years ago and my mom about 16 years ago. These days are very difficult, as you would know.

    My best to you on Father’s Day.

  • etherdog

    When my parents voted for G W Bush in 2004, I decided I had enough of their racism and bigotry. I wish it were different, and I tried, but sometimes you have to break with a bad seed. Luckily I don’t have any children as I wouldn’t want to pass on my surname nor poisonous worldview. Some are lucky with their parents, some are not.

  • Romona

    My dad died when I was a child,so i didn’t know him: but growing up his memories lived in my older siblings stories and even now I feel as if I know him….strange how we are with such things.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • luis

    Mikie, I lost my dad too….and a lot of other great people too. It’s not easy bro. that is all I can tell you. Honor their memory by standing up for what they stood for.. (assuming…) but honor their memories live and real time.

  • Kate

    Michael, your words are beautiful as are many of the comments….I feel very moved. I have just been speaking to my dad on the phone – I too am lucky – my dad is the best…………

  • hlee

    I miss my Dad…………a lot. What brings me comfort is to perform some act that honors him and the spirit he instilled in his child. This usually entails showing grace to someone acting poorly. I did that and smiled on the inside. It was Daddys fathers day gift.

  • Claudia

    my dad took his own life in 1989. i was 28 and he was in his late 50’s. he was bipolar and eventually his world collapsed on him.

    i look like him and would like to believe that i have both his charm and his strong wit. from him i got my love of music and animals – and what i like to think is my exquisite taste. he was a classy guy, dapper too.

    as an adult i am able to see him as the flawed man that he was. but for all my years growing up he was my daddy and i adored him with all my heart. he was fun and smart and there was no one in the world i would rather have spent time with… i miss him very much.

  • jennifer

    I know just how you feel. I think the first Father’s Day is the hardest – in ways harder than birthdays and Christmas.

    I was so lucky that my Dad gave me the best gift any father can give. When I was in my early 20s (long before he died) he sat me down and told me that when he was gone he wanted me to know that he loved me, and that I should have no regrets about anything regarding him. We were, in his words, “cool.” In the 5 years since he died I have found extraordinary comfort in that. My only regret is not being able to tell him what a gift that was.

    I tell you and your readers this so they can do the same for their children. It has made all the difference for me and allows me to push aside any regrets and just focus on how much we loved each other.

  • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    Father’s Day is probably the most difficult day of the year for me. My father is almost 90 years old and we have not had a relationship for the past 24 years. Mostly because he chose to continue a relationship and even encouraged my ex-husband, a man who abandoned both myself and our two young daughters for a much younger woman. I felt betrayed by both of them and they are quite the pair as neither have been particularly good to their daughters.

    I think it’s hard because of the longing for what others know that my kids and I will never know; a man that is unstoppable in his love for family. Yet, I am warmed by the loving comments I do see and only hope my two girls, now in their 20’s, can someday allow themselves to trust enough to find the kind of men represented in your viewers comments.

  • Chuck Shaw

    Thanks Michael. It’s been 21 years for me and miss him every day!

  • James

    This Sunday will be two years since my dad passed away. Seeing and hearing all the father’s day commercials and announcements makes a difficult week harder. I’m just now getting to where I don’t cry everytime I think of him. But I miss him terribly. I’d trade a mountain of tommorows for a single yesterday. He taught me all the important things in life and was an honorable and upright man. I had a great dad!

  • Shelley

    Thank you for this post. It reminded me of good times with my father. My father is still with me and as I grow older, along with him, I hold moments closer to my heart than I ever did before. My dad and I are wildly different in personality and have had our days, both smooth and rough, but I know he loves me and cares about me more than anyone could. Fathers sometimes have a quiet way of showing their love. I’ve slowed down my thoughts, placed generous, kind moments above or, at least, equal to the memory of any old hurts and have learned to recognize the whole meaning of my father’s words, glances and nods. I would have missed these at one time in my life because I was rushing and thinking of my dad in a very one dimensional way when he’s a complex person like the rest of us. These little gifts of subtle emotion now lift me because I know how much feeling they contain. They’ll never be washed away by distance, no matter how far from one another we might be one day. Thanks again.

  • Kimber

    My father passed away many years ago. I loved my Dad and felt cheated I did not get to know him as an adult. I lost my mom over a year ago and revisited his loss again in reflected memories. The feelings of loss change over the years and depending on the nature of the relationship, can have impact on the rest of our lives. I feel fortunate my parents were awesome people I was lucky to have in my life. The void will always be there. You learn to live with it. While holidays and other celebratory days can cast sadness in minds eye, I steer the heartfelt tug towards all the happy times and look into them. Am sorry for your loss. Sweet pictures. God Bless.