Monday, November 26, 2012

The Perks of Knowing a Good Ol' Boy


Throughout the time I have shared with you the ins and outs of living with my Daddy, I haven’t done a whole lot of reminiscing about the more interesting perks of having a good ol’ boy for a Daddy. 

I recently spent a week in Hawaii with my family, which now includes my niece’s boyfriend who is saddled with the unfortunate nickname ‘Rica’.  

This very nice young man’s parents named him Chad.  My sister started calling him Chad-rica, for reasons known only to her.  And as she is prone to do, she shortened it to simply Rica and refers to him by that moniker in all our conversations.  So, I have started calling him Rica in my head; for example, when I was making my Christmas list I actually wrote “shirt for Rica”.  My Daddy even calls him Rica and thought he was Hispanic, which made for an odd conversation when they arrived at my house this June and in walked a blonde boy.

My Daddy ever so eloquently stated, “I ain’t never seen a blonde-headed messican.  Are you sure that’s Rica?”  When I attempted to make light of the situation (due to the reddening face of Rica himself) by stating that Castilian Spaniards can be blonde, my Daddy flagged down that train with his usual bluster, “Casteeya-whatayasay?  There ain’t no such thing as a blonde-headed messican.” 

And I shared all that to say this – I returned from my trip on Wednesday night, Thanksgiving Eve, if you will, and reminded my Daddy that he had promised to eat dinner at a co-workers home the following day.  Well, you would’ve thought I had asked him to wear a tutu or volunteer at a nursing home considering the look he gave me.  He says he doesn’t like “old people”.

You see my Daddy is not a social person, which comes as a bit of a shock to some of you.  Granted he can turn on the charm when he wants to and if you can get past the shockingly un-PC statements he is prone to make, he will make you laugh, albeit sometimes nervously and always looking around to see who heard you laugh as it was probably slightly vulgar.  He can “act right” in front of company when he wants to.  Unfortunately for me, I am not considered company.

To ensure that he remained in a reasonably interactive mood, I plied him with breakfast at our favorite diner, Jason’s, and let him get in a nap before we left for Greg and Louise’s.  One of the only reasons my father agreed to attend is that Greg is one of his favorite people seeing as how he looks like a biker and actually owns a Harley.  I think he likes Greg more than he likes me.  Scratch that; I KNOW he likes Greg more than me as, and I quote, “Greg is macho”.  Shockingly, I am not considered macho which is a term used exclusively by my father and the Village People.

When we got to Greg’s, I distracted Daddy with football on the big screen and Ruffles with onion dip until dinner was served.  Thank goodness they had a Honeybaked Ham, my Daddy’s favorite holiday protein.  After we ate, he sat back down with Greg and watched football and told lies about Vietnam (the country with the fighting back then) and Germany (the women back then) and other standard apr├Ęs dinner conversation topics.

After a couple of hours, which was very much surprising, he said we needed to go as his a-double-s was starting to hurt.  On the way to the door someone asked why my Daddy calls Adam (my management trainee) George.  I tried to explain the nicknames my family doles out and the odd names my father loves to give to the various animals that have had the joy of being members of our household.  Dogs named Missy, Goober, Digger, Licker, Snoopy, Satan, Sophie, Pepper, Hot Dog and Lulu.  And I just adore my Lulu.  I just wish that her name was not the same as a now-deceased, overweight, reformed stripper who became a Christian and sang on Hee-Haw.    Since my Daddy has claimed I have “stole” his dog (which is accurate), I have tried to get her to answer to Paisley but she will have none of it.  You can take the dog out of the patch…

The conversation then turned to the odd assortment of other animals that we have owned such as horses, cows, sheep, guinea pigs and parrots.  One parrot in particular was named Seymour.  Christmas 1981, we drove the 13 hours from Oklahoma to my grandparent’s farm in Alsatia, Louisiana, population 27, not counting goats or horses.  My mother was driving.  I, my sister, brother, 626 Christmas gifts and our poodle (Pepper) were in the backseat and my Daddy riding shotgun with Seymour on his shoulder.  Yes, you read that correctly.  As he was slumped in the front seat sleeping, some random but soon to be unfortunate heathens mistakenly thought my mother was the only adult in the car. 

Somehow finding enough confidence to terrorize a family while driving a Ford Pinto, these ruffians proceeded to pass us and then pull over in front of us and slow down to 20 miles an hour.  As I inherited my lead foot from my mother and because back then Oklahoma highways had no posted speed limit, my Mother easily passed them, making great time on our sojourn toward the farming community of her youth.  After several episodes of the passing and subsequent slowing down with these hooligans, my Daddy woke up and asked her what was going on. 

When she explained the situation, it poked the proverbial bear, and he asked me if I had brought my early Christmas present, a knife.  My sister wondered aloud what good a pocket knife would do, having apparently forgotten that my father somehow mis-interpreted my Christmas wish list to include “Bowie knife with 8” blade and snakeskin handle” when what I had actually asked for was “Electronic Battleship”.

I grabbed the knife and we had a mid-air swap as he threw the parrot into the back seat and proceeded to hang his upper torso out of the window and wave the knife asking the “M-Fers” to politely join him in a discussion of the merits of leaving us alone.  For some unknown reason, assumingly alcohol, the threat of a large bearded fellow waving a Bowie knife was not enough to distract these wayward souls from their intended mission of, I am guessing, “harassing people” because they repeated the pass and slow down routine several more times.

Having more than enough of the situation that he cared to endure, my Daddy asked my mother ever so politely if she was finished with her (glass bottle of) Tab.  When she indicated that she was, in fact, no longer in need of the diet refreshment, he asked her to pull alongside the Pinto.

When he could see the whites of the driver’s eyes, like General Washington taught us, he proceeded to introduce the half-full bottle to the area in and around the driver’s ears, nose and throat, causing an abrupt departure of the Pinto from the pavement.  And with that, he turned to my mother and said, “Solved that problem, Mama.  Let’s get on to Alsatia.”

Lesson learned?  Actions do speak louder than words. 

And that is all I’m saying.

Monday, November 5, 2012

If we pawned America, how much would we get?


I was out to dinner with a friend (hey Terri!) Friday night.  As per usual, I texted my Daddy and reminded him of my plans as he gets irritated if he doesn’t know where I am.  As per usual, he ignored my text.  Had he bothered to open his flip phone, he would have known it was not the morning when he awoke at 6.  Since I wasn’t there to inform him of his error, he thought Friday evening was Saturday morning and proceeded to make coffee and eat his oatmeal.  He also took his morning meds, one of which is a diuretic. 

When I got home about 9:00 pm he was confused as to where I had been and why I was carrying a box of leftovers.  However, he was not confused about his desire to eat the contents of my doggie bag and he happily munched on half a turkey burger with black bean and corn salsa, while I asked to what I owed the pleasure of piping hot coffee an hour before bedtime. 

He said, “It’s almost nine in the morning, boy, what chu talkin’ bout bedtime?”  When I pointed out that it wouldn’t be pitch black outside at nine in the morning, even if there was a storm a-brewin’, he looked at me as if I had stolen the last bite of the burger.  It never occurred to him why I would have a turkey burger for breakfast.  “Food’s food,” was his reply accompanied by the burp one would expect from one as couth as he.

Once he realized that it was, in fact, not Saturday morning he spent the next hour berating himself and wondering aloud how someone could be so stupid.  I told him that it happens to everyone, although usually when one is doped up on cold medicine or hung over from too much partying.  Since he is fairly well doped at night as I save all his “may cause dizziness” medications (and there are several) for right before bedtime, it would have been understandable.  And due to his current physical condition, partying like a rock star would include things like heading to The Wal-Mart without his scooter or walking outside to check the mail more than once a day.

I thought it was funny that he had made an error but I very quickly swallowed that giggle when he threw a look my way that I haven’t seen since my Southern Baptist mother found out I voted pro-choice back in college.  When I reminded him that the time was going to change again on Saturday night, he asked me, “You like messin’ with me?”  When I assured him it was not a ruse to confuse him, he told me, “If you don’t mind, I’ll ask somebody who didn’t eat hippie hamburger what time it is tomorrow.”

He awoke Sunday morning at a bright and early 4:00 AM.  Even though I had changed all the clocks in the house, he was using his watch which he had refused to allow me to change.  His clippity-clopping on his way to the kitchen to make the coffee was bad enough but he decided to fry, yes fry, a steak for breakfast and the ensuing noise was enough to wake the dead, myself included. 

We have discussed before how I cannot keep up with his swirling vortex of filth and funk.  In order to keep some semblance of cleanliness in my home without losing my sanity, I hired a service to come in every other weekend to clean.  And while they are the nicest people, I feel odd sitting there whilst they are there so I decided that we would venture to the outlet mall as they were having a clearance sale at my favorite shop (Robert Talbott) and Daddy was lured by the promise of lunch at Hometown Buffet.

When I got into his truck, which we were forced to take because he refuses to get into my car which he says is too fancy.  It’s a Hyundai Sonata.  And while I think it looks much more expensive than it is, it is still a Hyundai Sonata.  When I asked him to define fancy, he said, “It’s too nice to fart in.”  I would like to think that I am too nice to fart near, but when I posited that question, I was met with a resounding “No”.  Well I’m assuming it was a no; there wasn’t actually a word offered.

So, we pile into the grapes of wrath truck and head toward Gilroy, Garlic Capital of the World.   When I got in I noticed there was a grape tomato on the floorboard of the driver’s side.  As my Daddy had driven himself to his doctor’s appointments on Wednesday, he had stopped by the farmer’s market on campus.  Apparently he had purchased tommy-toes, as he pronounces them, and left one behind.  I laughed and put it in the drink holder of the console, intending to throw it in the trash once we reached our destination.

When we arrived and got out of the truck, I noticed him chewing something.  When I asked what it was he said, “My tommy-toe.  Why?”  Being used to things like that at this point, I just said “alright” and continued on my quest for discounted designer ties.  Inside the store, I searched for fabulous things while he wandered around, loudly excoriating any company that would charge so much for “somethin’ that’s not even clothes”, laying down on their couch, using their Employees Only restroom and making an un-PC reference to people of Hispanic origin having used my trouser seat as a domicile when explaining to the salespeople why I chose to not purchase the chinos I had tried on.  I think the deep discounts they offered were to hasten our exit especially when I told them I thought the loud older gentleman might be homeless and I couldn’t figure out why he was following me around.

After an interesting lunch at the buffet, which he informed me was less-than-enjoyable due to the large number of people also there, including thousands of children.  Okay, maybe not thousands, but when you get a dining room with a maximum capacity of 150 and a full 100 of those are children hopped up on orange ice cream and cotton candy, it can seem like you are trapped on Bourbon Street at midnight on New Year’s.  Not that I would know anything about that. 

I concurred with his discomfort and understood when he was only able to polish off 3 plates (including one of just ham that he pronounced "I've had better") before he was forced, FORCED, to flee to the confines of his truck.  Well, flee in the sense that he walked as fast as he could on feet that work correctly only about every third step.

When we were driving home he asked who I was voting for on Tuesday.  As I voted by mail two weeks ago, I told him that I wasn’t sure, just to avoid that discussion, but wondered who he would vote for, were he registered to vote in California, which he is not.  When he told me that he would pick either Charles Bronson (who is dead) or Rick from “Pawn Stars”, I felt somewhat happy he isn’t going to cast his vote.  Although, a lot of pro-Romney people say we need a businessman in charge and if making a living running a pawn shop isn’t a sign of a business-minded person, I don’t know what is.  So, if you don’t like Obama but aren’t really jazzed about Romney either, you could just choose ‘Pawn Stars’ for President!

Would it really be any worse?  And that is all I’m saying.