What is one thing most people seem to do after they eat all the food piled on their plate for Thanksgiving?
We talk and reminisce, partly because we are too full to move from the table.
My mom and dad were here for Thanksgiving. We were talking about various things, I was going on and on about my writing because I’m so happy about it. My dad says, “I want you to write a blog about me.” I kind of shrug saying I’ve written about him before, then give him the, you don’t want me to write about you look.
I say, “Are you sure?” Then, “It may not be pretty.” He says, “Go ahead and write it.” I say, “What if I start with my brother thought OUT was a place?”
I’ll pause here to let you get it.
Got it yet?
So we were standing in the kitchen Thursday when daddy said, “You are almost 41 years old.” I haven’t been quiet about my age since I turned 40. I’ll tell a stranger that I’m 40 years old and then wait. I’m disappointed if my boast isn’t followed by, “You don’t look it.”
Anyway so I say, “Well you are almost 61, so there”. He says, “Why you gotta tell all my business?” I'm thinking, since he already said I was 41, I really can’t make him much younger than that. He looks good, but that wouldn’t be a good look. So you’ve figured it out. My daddy was a very very young man with a little baby. I marvel at him and my mom’s success. I didn’t have a child until nearly 16 years after they did, and I know how hard it was.
Here's a story...
In my two’s, three’s and four’s, I was probably the mature one. I vaguely remember sitting on his lap, while cards were played, music was blasting, paper bag wrapped cans of Bull or bottles of something else, in an all kinds of smoke filled room. We lived in an apartment complex. He told me I walked him home, not the reverse.
So what were Saturday mornings like when I a little girl? Let’s just say everything was dark and quiet until he arose. The curtains were drawn and I had to be quiet. He was probably just getting home from OUT, when I was getting up. Years later when my brother was a little older he said he thought OUT was a place and we all cracked up. He and I have fond memories of the OUTINGS.
Friday night was our night we got to camp out in mom’s room. I would be in the bed with my mom, my brother would be on the floor. Our Friday night television lineup was Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider and Dallas. My brother was awake for all of Dukes of Hazzard and half of Knight Rider. I was up for all of Knight Rider and half of Dallas. At some point in the night my brother and I were shuffled to our own rooms.
Sometimes there was a Saturday night version with Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Those were my shows. My brother watched the opening credits of Love Boat, my mom was sleep by the time Fantasy Island came on.
On a rare Saturday morning, I would see the living room and not have to ask, “What happened here?” Those were the days to be extra quiet and help out my mom or just stay out of the way.
At some point in the day she was in cleaning mode blasting Bill Withers. I hated the Bill Withers album, I think because it was on repeat or whatever it was called for a record to start all over again. If you were a 70’s and before baby you know that sound.
The Bill Withers songs must have been messages to daddy. Ain’t No Sunshine was the sad one, Ain't no sunshine, when she’s gone… Just the Two of Us must have been when she was coming around; Just the two of we can make it if we try…. Lovely Day must have been the soundtrack for when she was over it…Just one look at you and I know its gonna be, a lovely day….(but maybe she was singing to me and my brother).
Daddy’s song blast may have been, If you don’t know me by now by The O’Jays: All the things, that we’ve been through, you should understand me, like I understand you. Now baby I know the difference, between right and wrong, I ain’t gonna do nothin’ to upset our happy home…. (was that the apology song?)
These were times to look back and smile. My mom still looks back and shakes her head. My daddy does too, somewhat shamefully. There were only a handful of times that I thought they weren’t going to make it. Let’s just say one of those times I called the police. But it was all good. I think that turned out to be a good lesson.
My daddy wasn’t raised by either of his parents. He was raised by his Grandmother and Aunt. There was a grandfather in the picture, but he was mostly OUT, or at work. My daddy did not have the traditional father figure to learn how to be a man or a father. He figured it out on his own.
So along comes this pretty young thing, there’s a “courtship”, she gets pregnant, they get married, and they have a baby. The rest is history. He became a great man and a wonderful father.
Here’s the thing…there is no short story in memories. There are plenty of stories to tell about my daddy, the OUT reference is the one that created this flow.
How’s that for tellin’ all your business daddy?