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 après 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.

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