Friday, June 22, 2012
This time I was late
For the first time in quite a few years I am with my Daddy on Father’s Day. I have always called him and sent him a gift but it’s the first time since probably college where he and I are staring at each other on the exact date. Staring at each other in a good way…I suppose. It’s more a testament to our confusion over shared genes than an actual competition although he would win by utilizing the time honored weapon known as “pull my finger”. Knowing full well a refusal to approach much less yank the digit in question will in no way impede the intended result. And sitting on my almost non-existent butt with my oddly short legs swaying in the breeze, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I am he but with cuter clothes, computer skills and an aversion to eating protein in can form.
While I’m on the subject of fathers, I want to point out that my spelling of Daddy and the actual pronunciation are quite different. Some of my non-Southern readers have interpreted Daddy to sound somewhat like an anxious British child wondering why “Mummy and Daddy are missing”. I pronounce it, along with many of Southern brethren and sisthren (is that right?) as Deh-Dee. Well, at least those of us who still say Daddy. I know it makes me seem a bit more Blanche Deveraux than I’d like to admit, but it’s just how I am. My Mother referred to her Daddy as Daddy and so shall I.
This day coupled with the fact that tomorrow would have been my parents’ 47th wedding anniversary (for those that don’t know, my mother died in 2000) has put in mind of the things for which I am grateful in relation to my family and my life. I used to think and say that I wish I had grown up in different circumstances, financial, geographical and otherwise. However, I know now that I am glad that the things happened as they did for a reason. I would not be the person I am if my life had been any different. For a long time I wished I had grown up in an urban area as opposed to varies boonies throughout the South, but as an adult I truly appreciate the rural nature of my upbringing. It has given me a foundation of civility and simplicity that seems down-right quaint in comparison to today’s skank-filled society. Drugs and pornography were not even on our radar; alcohol was easily with reach, seeing as how Walthall County, although a dry county, was within inches of Louisiana, a state always on the cutting edge of sketchy behavior. And although my peers imbibed from time to time it wasn’t as if we planned our social life around it. You’re welcome for this revisionist history ladies and (one) gentleman.
As is typical for small town boys, most of my friends were girls. I’ve always found them to be more interesting, fun and clean. Their activities, while sometimes odd and uninteresting to me, were at least indoors, where I was determined to be. It wasn’t as if I were opposed to the outdoors. Full disclosure: I was opposed to the outdoors. I attended my fair share of pasture parties and soirees at the river, but it was more for a sense of camaraderie than any zeal for nature. And by camaraderie I mean popularity, peripheral or otherwise. While I was usually well-liked I have never been cool by anyone’s definition. I tried to make up for my natural uniqueness by being funny. And for this talent I look to my father. While my mother had many wonderful traits and was humorous, my Daddy was the comedian in that marriage, in the broadest definition of that word. He found himself peerlessly hilarious; we often found no humor in what he was saying, usually because we were horrified or embarrassed for the repetition. At what age can you hear the phrase, “fine as frog hair” in response to someone’s inquiry into his well-being and actually laugh and/or not feel instant shame? Apparently age 12, as this phrase has caused internal groans and external reddening of the face since near ‘bout 19 and 82.
One of my father’s unusual traits I have recently discovered is his need to put a time to every action. For example, a week or so ago he was complaining that he forgot to charge his cell phone and he was about to go to sleep. I inquired as to why he would need his phone during slumber as he doesn’t often use it while awake and he said, “I need it to tell the time during the night.” As it was also my bedtime (I feel old, y’all), I refrained from continuing the conversation lest he not get the 11 hours of beauty sleep he most assuredly needs. The next morning I discovered the reason for his complaint. He proceeded to tell me each and every time he woke up throughout the night and what time he arose to start the morning. Apparently, “I got up 4 times to pee” is not scintillating enough conversation. He feels that I would do well with more detail. “I got up at 1:43, 2:18, 3:36 and 4:27 to pee” is more detail than I need to start my day off adequately. Sadly, dear readers, caffeine is not what wakes me up. Along with the punctuality of his emissions, I am also privy to the exact time (3:44) that his a-double-s started hurting and he had to move himself to his bed. This is followed by the persact (my family’s inventive synonym for “exact”) moment (5:11) that his side began to bother him requiring a return to his trusty recliner. Without his phone, his stories would be down-right boring. Smell that? That’s sarcasm.
Even though we had celebrated with a Father’s Day dinner the night before, as I had a full day with church, brunch and heading to San Jose to greet the attendees for my training conference this week, he somehow finagled a BBQ as well. At 2:34 we fired up the grill (yes I have a grill) and at 2:37 he wanted to know exactly what was taking “them dad-burn pork chops so long? I could cook them faster with a stick and a match.” At 2:38 I said, “Look here old man, shut it and wait; you’re the farthest thing from starving I’ve met in a long time.” Actually, that was in my head. What I said out loud was, “They’ll be done in a minute. Go get your kool-aid and check your blood sugar.” That was at 2:40. See how much more interesting this story is with the times inserted?