Sunday, June 21, 2009

Things My Father Taught Me

How to float on my back in the ocean. He could float for hours. Once I think he actually dozed off.

How to throw a football, play poker and stay loyal to the Red Sox. I was a bit of a tomboy.

How to catch lizards, frogs, and flying squirrels in a shoebox when they get into the house. We could never seem to remember to put the cap on the chimney in time.

How to stay calm in a crisis. I never heard him raise his voice. I never saw him angry or frustrated. I never knew him to get excited about anything bad. A game-winning home run or a successful rocket launch, sure. But the other stuff? Not worth it. As a prime example: one morning he came downstairs carrying a 4-foot rat snake. He found it in the bathroom, draped around the ornate gold frame of the bathroom mirror. He said that while he was shaving, he kept looking at the mirror, trying to figure out what was different about it. Finally he realized there were two eyes looking back at him! So he grabbed the snake by the back of the head and carried it downstairs to show us, before releasing it outside.

It never rains at the golf course. Even when the weather was nasty, he always disappeared around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and reappeared about 1:30 p.m. That was his time and nothing ever interfered. Except I got married on a Saturday morning. It may have been the only time he missed a Saturday in 50 years. He teased me a lot about that, but I don't think he really minded. He told me a lot of jokes while we waited in the back of the church, so I wouldn't be nervous.

A bedtime story always begins like this: "It was a dark and stormy night in the Adam-rondacks. Three men were sitting around a campfire. One was tall and slim and his name was Slim. One was short and fat and his name was Fat. One was medium sized and his name was Mac." From there, no telling what would happen. But Mac was always the hero.

When you fix things, go ahead and make a big mess. The most important thing is to fix the problem. You can clean up afterwards. If anyone challenges your methods, say "We works dirty, but we does a clean job."

One festive piece of clothing goes a long way. Just be sure you can still fit into it from year to year. Daddy had a red velvet vest that he wore every Christmas that I can remember. Add that to "the uniform" and he was good to go.

A good pun is a gift that keeps on giving. Even now I find myself saying "Hasta banana" instead of "Hasta manana."

It's a good life if you don't weaken. If we have a family motto, this is it. Daddy died in his sleep 18 years ago. He was 76, and he was still playing golf three times a week.

And I'll always be my father's daughter.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm in love with your dad.

    If a father possibly can, he should have humor above all else. I love every thing you wrote, it warmed me, and it made me want to cry.

    It's so nice to see that you know how lucky you are.


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