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Area residents recall embarrassing moments with their fathers


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Charles Cooper once surprised his daughter Tammy Ison and her eventual husband by making an entrance wearing a floppy hat and a bikini.
Charles Cooper once surprised his daughter Tammy Ison and her eventual husband by making an entrance wearing a floppy hat and a bikini.

Charles Cooper once surprised his daughter Tammy Ison and her eventual husband by making an entrance wearing a floppy hat and a bikini.
Charles Cooper once surprised his daughter Tammy Ison and her eventual husband by making an entrance wearing a floppy hat and a bikini.


No one can wreck a date or embarrass you in front of your friends quite like a dad.

Loaded with an arsenal of bad jokes and horrifying anecdotes — as well as a commanding presence no one wants to question — dads can both entertain and intimidate.

Here are some cringe-worthy stories our readers shared with us for Father’s Day.

Although Andrea Corbeels hasn’t started dating yet, she knows her father will work overtime to embarrass her in front dates. Whether it’s plucking Barbie heads off doll bodies and twirling them on screwdrivers while dancing and singing — in front of her friends — or loudly imitating her volleyball coaches, Philip Corbeels is happy to attract attention with his sense of humor.

Andrea Corbeels, an eighth- grader at Columbus Northside Middle School and a club volleyball player, has her father’s backing in her new sport. When they practice in the backyard, Philip Corbeels likes to imitate Andrea Corbeels’ enthusiastic coach.

After a recent Northside band concert, the oboe player looked into the audience to join up with her father, and she found him sitting in a middle row of seats all by himself — wildly waving his arms to attract her attention.

“Everyone saw,” Andrea Corbeels said. “This girl next me was like, ‘Parents are embarrassing.’ I said, ‘I know. They all are.’”

Tammy Ison has been married to her husband for 31 years, but they had not been dating very long when her father, Charles Cooper, decided to embarrass her.

For a little background, Ison notes that her father was already a practical joker, having pulled such stunts as streaking across a baseball field with other coaches.

Ison also has sentimental memories of her father, such as his holding her hand when she delivered her first child, which was his first grandchild.

But Ison’s favorite funny memory came on an evening as Ison, her husband-to-be, Jeff, and his cousin sat playing cards at her parents’ house. She and Jeff Ison had been dating for less than a year when her father decided to surprise the trio — coming into the kitchen wearing high heels, a floppy hat and a bikini.

“My husband and his cousin jumped up scared to death and tripped over each other and fell into a water heater closet and broke the door,” she said.

“After we all finally stopped laughing, my husband said that all he had seen was dark hairy legs in high heels coming after him.”

Dates can be a great time to toss out embarrassing memories that will mortify your children.

Columbus East High School alumnus Seann Dempsey, who brought a first date back to his house, vouches for that. Although the specific year escapes him, it was during years when a teenager’s ego is at peak fragility, that is early high school.

“(My date and I) came home, and we’re just swapping stories, and there’s this video my mom likes to show from when I’m in a play,” Dempsey said. “My date asked if there was anything else embarrassing she should know.”

That was when Seann Dempsey’s father, Michael Dempsey, piped up and told the date about the time he tossed a very young Seann a little too high — and right into a ceiling fan. Young Seann survived the fan tossing without injury — but his teenaged ego was bruised as his date listened.

“I’m like, “Why would you tell a date that?’” he said. “I just turned beet red.”

Melissa Burton’s father, Dean Roscoe Hart, taught her many life lessons — such as how to drive anything on wheels, including motorcycles. Burton’s first motorcycle was a Honda 50 when she was five years old.

As her 16th birthday approached and she began dating, “We had all of the ‘Let’s talk about this’ moments that no one ever wants to discuss with their Daddy,” she said.

“Those conversations always ended with ‘You know you’re Daddy’s little girl, and I would not let anyone hurt you.’”

Burton had a first date set up — and her date was coming to pick her up. As he drove his dad’s truck and pulled in an unhurried, respectable pace, Burton’s father was watching as the suitor inadvertently threw some gravel.

“That was it,” Burton said. “Dad quickly informed my date that ‘Melissa would not be accompanying him in the truck due to his reckless driving.’”

Her father allowed her to drive her car into Columbus to meet her date, “but was I ever embarrassed,” she said.

Kelly Denney has many reasons why her father, The Republic’s Doug Showalter, is the world’s greatest, but some of her favorite reasons relate to his sense of humor.

“As a young girl, I was mortified when he would grab my hand as we headed into the grocery store and start walking like an ape — making all the appropriate ape noises so as to draw the attention of everyone else in the parking lot.”

The ape walking wasn’t an every-visit occurrence, Denney said, but it happened more times than she or her sister could count.

Showalter also clinched the victory in the Girl’s Club Father/Daughter Dance 1991 competition with his rendition of “The Funky Chicken.”

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