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"Who Would You Have Dinner With?"

In college and even some job applications that age old essay question always pops up: "Who would you have dinner with, dead or alive, if given the chance?"

In 10th grade, I answered Madonna because I thought she was strong, ambitious, smart and could do whatever she wanted. I admired her so much, and wanted to be like her in many ways-not a pop start-but I wanted to be like her spirit. I was living alone at the time (long story), and had really no one in my life to look up to and she was a role model to me.

In 12th grade we were asked the same question and again, I answered, Madonna for the same reasons. Although at this point I had moved in with my mother and my step-father, who hated me in high school. I was really close to my step-brother John, but still felt isolated and alone and Madonna symbolized someone who made it on her own, even though things were hard.

Throughout the years I have had many idols and of course that question has been asked of me in interviews and such. I even had to write an essay for a college application a few years back. There are lots of people who I would like to have dinner with.

Nora Ephron-for being a role model to me as a woman and as a writer. She changed the way I felt about romantic comedies and character.

Rick Allen of Def Leppard-for going on as a DRUMMER after losing his arm in a car accident.

Ron Howard-amazing director.

Woody Allen-the writing thing again.

Tom Cruise-he's hot, I admire his work and "why" Scientology Tom? Why?

But to be honest, the one person living or dead who I would want to have dinner with is my father.

He passed away on June 7th of this year and for the last 6 years he has been living a home with dementia. He was too far away for me to go see him and since work has been a Craps shoot-although I am great at Craps-I haven't been able to visit so I sent him cards every other day.

If I could have dinner with him I would tell him how much his death is destroying me inside day by day and how much I miss him. I would tell him how much I admire him for living through the war-WW2-as a teenager/sniper and going underground with the American army. I would tell him how much I admired him for always enjoying life and making the best even when things sucked. I would tell him that he was strong and noble and caring and everything I hope to be someday. I would apologize for not visiting him more and writing to him more before he got so sick. I would tell him that he changed who I am by leaving me and shaped who I am just for being my father. I would tell him how much those trips to Tasty-Freeze as a kid meant to me, and hanging out at the airport where he worked. I would tell him that I am sorry that I wasn't there and he was sad and I couldn't help him stop drinking. I would tell him how very sorry I am for every time he called and I didn't have time to talk to him because I was too busy with my life out here in California. I would tell him how much every one of those calls on my birthday at midnight meant to me, and New Year's Eve when he would call me twice, once at 9 pm pst-because that was when the ball actually dropped in NYC, and then again at midnight pst because that was when I was having my new year-I would tell him how much those calls meant to me. I would tell him that I love him. I would tell him how angry I am that he left me, and I would tell him that I miss him every second of every day.

That's who I would spend my dinner with, if given the chance.

My father. Just sayin'

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