This week is Father’s day, and even though there is so much to say about Pie Lab, I am not really going to talk that much about pie.

I am going to talk about my dad because he is pretty much the reason that Pie Lab exists.

You see, my Dad was an entrepreneur and an inventor. Not many kids can say that about their father. My friends used to call him the father from Beauty and the Beast!” – that quirky little dude always bringing home new ideas.  I will leave it to you to discover what he invented;  Google him – James Fergason – there is a short Wikipedia page about him. I don’t really care about that stuff, because at the end of the day he was pretty much the most awesome dad a kid could wish for, so that’s what I am going to talk about.

He loved comic books. One of my favorite memories of him was a Christmas morning someone gave him a whole pile of old-school comics and he read them in his pajamas while sitting his recliner with a big grin on his face and an occasional snicker. He didn’t need anything, but often turned into a little kid with those simple things.

You may have noticed our wall art at the bakery– comic book posters… yes they are not the typical décor for a bakery; he was the inspiration for them. There is even a little Easter egg in one of them – as a tribute to him, let me know if you see it. (Hint: it’s on Madam Meringue’s poster).

He had lots of sayings:

“Close is only good in horseshoes and hand grenades,”

“There is no such thing as a free lunch, someone ALWAYS pays.”

“Call me what you want, but don’t call me late for supper!”

Yes, like me, my dad liked to eat. No, wait, he LOVED to eat.  He would frequent the farmers markets and bring back fresh fruit and vegetables for my mom to do something with – everything from fresh peaches to bok choy.  Once he grilled himself a steak sandwich and I remember him muttering “We could sell these for $4 each – we would lose some upfront but make up for it in volume.” (Totally an entrepreneur through and through.)

He always appreciated anything I would cook. Even if it wasn’t perfect, he knew the time and dedication it took to make things by hand, be it a sweater, embroidery, or especially, a fresh cooked meal.

He was happiest when surrounded by family, although he wasn’t the most talkative, sometimes lost in thought, typical for a creative person. When he faced challenges, like bankruptcy of his business at one point, he would stand back up, and kept looking forward to the next thing.

And no, he wasn’t perfect. He was terrible at throwing footballs, and physical activity in general, something I took after.
But, he taught me to be curious and humble. When I am lost I often search in my heart for his voice and what wisdom he would offer.

He gave me the courage to open my own business, to accept myself for who I am, and to keep looking and moving forward to the next thing.

He passed away 7 years ago to cancer.

In the midst of training our new employees, baking pie, making customers smile I am keeping this inside. I want him to see Pie Lab and how well she is doing. Granted, if he were still with us he probably would get some grief about visiting “too often” and eating too much pie…

There are a lot of people that have empty chairs at their tables during days like this, for whatever reason. My kids are with their father this weekend and I lend my solidarity to those who are longing for loved ones. I was blessed with a father who was truly present, wise and whom I can call my hero.

In light of every accomplishment that he did, this was my dad, the guy that had odd jokes and spilled food on the front of his shirt, gave hugs and kisses to all boo boos and was a big San Jose Sharks fan, and a fan of the roast beef sandwiches at NHL games.

I really wish he could try my peach bourbon pie. I want to hear his low “mmmmm” and mutter “That’s good” between bites.

You know, the number one day for collect calls in this country is Father’s day. Hearing this fact and as I journey deeper into adulthood, I am cognizant that I was given a rare gift of a great dad.

For every peach bourbon slice, mini or pie sold on Father’s day, I will personally donate $1 to the American Lung Association. Not going to make big announcements about it, jusy going to set it here for you all. There will also be a box on the counter at our shop to donate money.

Happy Father’s day to all you dads out there. You don’t have to be perfect, but remember you are perfect in the eyes of your children.

Next time – we will talk more about pie.