I'm wondering if this isn't romanticized a little bit. There are two people in the relationship, and if it's not working, BOTH of you need to be willing to work it out. I was (am) in the same boat as Mary, except my mother died when I was 8. For years I've tried to help my father over the barriers to a closer family relationship. On his last visit this fall, I realized that it was too much of a strain on me to try and keep up both ends of a relationship when the deepest topic of conversation was the weather.
The important thing Jabjo, is you take care of yourself. Let your father know the doors are open, and don't expect more than he is willing to give. In fact, relish the fact that he is still here, even in his curmedgeonliness, to give you grief. When you are the best person that you can be, it often will encourage those around you to do the same. Take care, Elle