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Character Sketch about my father.
[1,432 words]
Abby M Lesczynski
17 year old, senior at Hartford Union High School
[January 2005]
Abby M Lesczynski


For the past seventeen years of my life I have been hearing the same question every single day in my household. “What’s for dinner?” This is my dad, David Lesczynski’s favorite question to ask my family. When we have company over or if he goes to friend’s houses he will ask, “What’s for dinner?” Everyone knows that he would love a big steak in front of him every night, and pretty much does.
While he is sitting on the wooden park bench outside of our house, he makes the big decision. What kind of steak should Dave have tonight, porterhouse, round steak, rib eye, sirloin, tenderloin? What about the vegetable or what should he drink?
Around 4:45 every night, my dad comes home from being a teaching assistant principal at Forest Home Avenue School in Milwaukee. The first thing he does is walk in the house and change from his shirt and tie to his usual gray Wisconsin Badger t-shirt and red short shorts with his old New Balance tennies. He then makes a vodka tonic in a red Wisconsin Badger cup and sits down and opens the mail. Soon after that, he walks outside and sits on his park bench and waits for all of his neighbor friends, Brian, Al, and Scott, Bob, and Kevin to come over. They talk about the usual guy things or find something to work on in one of their backyards.
When they all leave, my dad starts worrying about his dinner. He brings out his little gas grill dinner and my mom makes his side dishes, like potatoes or vegetables for the night, and sets out his TV tray on the left side of the couch. Then my dad sits down and begins eating his dinner.
Shortly after dinner, he cleans up and puts his dishes in the dishwasher, turns on a TNT movie and falls asleep. At about 1:00 a.m. he wakes up, grabs a glass of water and goes to bed. This is the typical night of Dave.
My dad has more to his life then just big steak dinners. In his free time, which he has a lot of, he watches football, goes golfing and does yard work. Dave’s favorite football team is the Wisconsin Badgers. Besides being decked out everyday with either badger shorts, socks, shirts or sweatshirts on, his garage is full of badger flags and signs. When the fall rolls around we go to all of the badger games with the rest of my family. Dave loves to be on time, so we usually head out of town at 6 a.m. and go towards Camp Randall. I don’t know how, but my dad somehow found really close tailgating site to their seats in the stadium. When we arrive, they unpack everything, start up the grill and relax before the big game. My dad and I always play washers against whoever wants to play us, we are currently undefeated. I have never seen my dad at any of the games because I sit in the student section, but with the way he watches the away games back at our house, I don’t really want to see him at the actual game.
Dave never really has a summer off like most teachers do. The week after school ends, he teaches summer school at Kettle Moraine. He loves doing this because the classes he teaches are simple and things he enjoys himself, like golf for beginners, or fishing. Even with summer school, he finds a way to enjoy his summer every day after work. We usually don’t see him from the crack of dawn until around happy hour. Where is Dave? He calls this thing “whale watching.” Dave is at the beach. He calls it whale watching because of all the overweight people there. He likes going there to get away from everyone without knowing anyone. One time I went to visit him and I found him sitting next to a picnic bench sitting on a folding chair with a little red cooler packed with Jolly Good soda. I don’t think he liked me visiting very much though because he likes being alone. My dad’s tan is his trademark. He is pretty much black, except where his sock line is on his ankles. When he comes home from the beach, he unpacks his white blazer, and takes a seat on the famous wooden bench. He will usually just talk to the neighbors, clean the cars, or mow the lawn.
The way my dad cleans the cars drives my family insane. I bet twice a week he will be out there vacuuming the seats and the mats. If I have a sweatshirt in the back of my car, the next time I go in there to get it, it is folded and sitting neatly in a corner. Every time he cleans the cars, he always mentions something like, “Even if I was a millionaire, I would never buy Abby a nice car.”
As much as my dad doesn’t seem like a real “dad,” he really is. I know he doesn’t show how much he loves my sister and I too often, but just little things tell us he does. He likes to show his love by buying us things that we want, like this past summer he came home with a $350 dollar bike for me, or my golf shoes that were really expensive. On holidays like Christmas he always gets each of us a “special” present. They are the bigger presents and the ones we’ve wanted for awhile. Some years he will watch us open them and cry. I hate seeing his big blue eyes cry because when he does it means a lot.
When my dad was younger, in his college days he loved to party. He attended UW-Whitewater. My favorite story was about the frat house he lived in. The house was based off of the movie “Animal House.” He told me it was disgusting, but at the time they didn’t mind. When him and my mom were dating, my mom said there were stairs missing and windows kicked in. I could never imagine my neat-freak dad living in a house like that.
As much as my dad’s life seems relaxing, when he works, he works hard and has a serious side. For the past 25 years, he has been a principal and a teacher. He loves his job and never really lets it stress him out. Up until three years ago, he was a principal at St. Bruno’s in Dousman. Currently, he is a teacher at Forest Home Avenue School in Milwaukee.
Last January, my dad was at school doing their Jump Rope for Heart program. Their gym floor is old and some of the tiles were missing. My dad slipped near one of the missing tiles and his foot stuck in the spot where it was gone. He came home the night it happened and complained about it for the next day, so my mom told him to go to the doctor. When he finally went, the following morning he had to be rushed into surgery on his Achilles Tendon. At first, it was partially tore, but since he waited to go to the doctor, the whole thing was ripped. For the next two months, Dave was a couch potato. My mom and I had to do all of the house work, shoveling, and serving him. It was one of the worst months for all of us. To this day, my dad still can’t golf without using a cart or do as much yard work as he would like to.
Reading this, my dad probably sounds like a total hick, or lazy guy. He has his moments where I think he is. Dave Lesczynski is one of the simplest living men in America. He does what he likes to do without wasting money or getting stressed out. He loves his job, golfing, eating and the Wisconsin Badgers. If I was a man I would love to take over his lifestyle.
For a fifty-two year old man, I think my dad is pretty cool, he can be weird and act like a regular dad sometime but I wouldn’t think twice about trading him. We’ve had our fights and ups and downs, but for the most part I enjoy my time with him. My dad is loved by almost all of my friends, even the guys enjoy talking to him when they come over. “Dave” will be the one person I will definitely miss when I leave for school next year.


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© 2004 Abby M Lesczynski
January 2005

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