My sister started a new job and has been meeting a lot of new people. It turns out that one of the people she met was a good friend of our dad's in the last place he worked - what a small world! Apparently my dad started out grumpy (which he could definitely be, although I think he was shy, too) and then turned into this sociable guy, telling jokes and stories about growing up and watching movies and stuff. He used to tell my sisters and me the same stories but I don't remember them very well.
My dad's friend was female, which is no surprise, because my dad was a charmer from a very early age. He used to tell me that he'd talk to anyone, no matter what they looked like, and that that was how he charmed all of these girls. He was very easy-going with people, especially women, and tended to accept them for who they were in a non-judgmental way.
Finding out about my dad's friend and hearing what she said is eye-opening, because while I knew my dad had friends, I never thought any of us would know them or hear them talk about my dad as they saw him. We were his kids and even though we ended up developing adult-type relationships with him, I think to him we were always his little girls and so he wouldn't have been the same person with other people as he was with us. And from my perspective, I knew that my dad was an adult and not just my dad. Finding out about his friend gave me a more well-rounded view of who my dad really was.
It made me feel good to know that my dad was well-liked and that he was someone I would have like to have spent more time with even had I not been his daughter. My dad was nowhere near perfect but he was a pretty good guy and a role model. I wish I could tell him this now, or that I'd known before he died so that I could have told him.
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