My father died on May 20th this year – one month ago (that is why I have been a little absent lately). With that and the constant yammering about Father’s Day (see: totally made up holiday) these past few weeks, it has caused me to think about how important a father is. That being if he is a true involved father which mine was. I was his first born kid – I really
think know he wanted a boy. He taught me quite a few things in his 83 years, some of which I ignored until I got older and then I saw the wisdom of it. Sometimes. But not always.
* How to change a tire. That is fine if the last tire dudes did not put the lug nuts on too tight.
* How to change brake pads. Though these days things are so different I doubt I could manage.
* How to pour concrete. My dad added a room to the back of our house. It became our family room, but I helped pour the slab for it.
Things he did just because:
* He would come home with a roll of life savers in his top shirt pocket after work for me. Usually cherry or butter rum.
* Help coach my softball team. Sometimes that did not go well. That is a very long story.
*Took us bowling with him and mom every Friday night. They were in a league – who does that now? And we pretty much roamed free to play video games. Excellent.
* Brought a dog home that was hanging around his work. Terrier mix that we called Domino because he was black with two white spots on his throat.
* Build a rabbit hutch. For bunnies he brought home for us. I think they were supposed to be eating rabbits, but Ralph and Thumper were pets. And I would so love to have another rabbit.
* Would respond to our notes of, “please take us to the 7-11 for candy.”
* He pretended he could make traffic lights switch with a snap of his fingers when I was little. A 4 year-old is so gullible. He was watching the opposing lights.
* He would always kiss me before he went to work at about 5:30 in the morning. Which was lovely until one time when I was slightly awake and socked him in the jaw. I am sure I didn’t hurt him but I did feel bad. But not really.
* Bought me Swedish Fish since I could not have real fish. I still love them and there is a jar of them in my office.
Not so much fun:
* He went looking for me when I was late coming home from work because I was having a drink with a guy – pre-cell phone era. Oh, so not happy then.
* Got totally pissed when I accidentally electrocuted my self with Christmas lights and a large container of water which had a Christmas cactus in it in the half done addition to the back of the house. Boy howdy, he was pissed, but that was because he was scared. And I was scared too.
“I am not going to run behind you all the way to first grade.” Helping me learn to ride a bike without training wheels. I did learn that very day.
* The time I left my windows cracked on my car and it rained overnight. Oh, so not good, again. But then again, he bought the car and then said, by the way, you now have a car payment. Lovely.
* The time I scraped a school bus in the parking lot of my high school parking lot and they (by which I am sure it was a she bus driver) called the cops for a hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident. Honestly, really? I got 9 points in one day and since I was dropping off friends, the cops beat me home. Once again he was angry, but I think by the time I had to go to court – yes, court- he really thought it was bullshit. It probably did not help when the judge said, “why did you leave of an accident?” And I said, “I did not know there was an accident to leave the scene of.” Fred jabbed me in the ribs. Ugh.
By the way, his name was not Fred, but that is what I have been calling him since I was about 12 or so. Not even sure how that happened, but it did and it made me happy. And maybe him too.