Monday, March 31, 2008

Good Memories of a Father

Lazy summer days, where we’d be gone as soon as breakfast was shoveled in and return for various bouts of eating, until “last call,” that twilight time when the street lights began to flicker and hum louder than the mosquitoes that perpetually gnawed on me summer long. Dad would invariably be found, reclining in his chair, watching our 19” black & white television when we came in.

Hopping on the Stingray boy’s bicycle my dad had built from an old bike body and turned into the coolest custom ride I’d ever seen. Being the coolest in the neighborhood x10 when he then built a tandem bike and painted it red and put white seats on it. It always seemed safer riding a bike that my dad built than riding in the car he drove as he seemed to have a penchant for driving up on sidewalks after squirrels.

Standing out on the front lawn on the occasional stormy evening when the sky would suddenly turn a unique shade of pea green/yellow which meant tornado coming. Winds blowing–suddenly–they’d stop–even the birds somehow knew what was looming and stopped their incessant chatter. I’d stand out on the lawn with my dad, scared, but also invigorated because I was living life on the edge for those few minutes before dad would say, “let’s go in the basement.”

Hiding out the cubby hole in the back of dad’s 1965 VW Beetle after church and convincing my sister that she should go along with me in our trickery. He always knew I was there, but would pretend he’d “lost” me.

Dad, my sister, and I would ride the two or three minutes from church to grandma’s for lunch. My cousins would usually be there too. We’d hit the road, running all over the neighborhood through back yards and up alleys. There were no fences then, but there was the occasional very sharp, thorny row of bushes. I liked to visit on Saturday better when the penny candy store was open around the corner. I don’t remember ever having anything besides fried chicken at grandma’s, but I’m sure we did at some point.

Watching as my dad created a finely crafted wood and metal weather vane for my 4th grade science project. It stacked up more than nicely against the construction paper, 2-dimensional weather vanes the other kids did. I didn’t get the best grade on that project since all he had let me do was use sandpaper on it after he was done building it. I always thought he would have been happier being a carpenter.

Sitting out on the front steps with just a jar and a lot of patience as we’d fill the jar with as many fireflies as we could find. I wonder what happened to all the fireflies, haven’t seen one in years.


ndpthepoetress Jean Michelle Culp said...

How wonderfully delightful Lori! Wow, what terrific wording – I felt as if I was right there watching all the magic. Your Dad seems extremely special and talented. How fortunate for you. You know, I sometimes wonder also what has become of those fireflies! I thought it was just a northern thing. Now I wonder if maybe global warming or pollution has sadly decreased them. Perhaps they were purely meant for our youth :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

The fireflies might be here... we had a bunch last year.

Seriously, though, this IS a lovely post, Lori! I love the detail about the bikes feeling safer 'cause Dad liked to chase squirrels. That really shows his character.

mauniejames3 said...

Although I never met your Dad I think he's wonderful..My Dad was a little nuts too and all the kids wanted him for their if
my Mom married your Dad..we could really be sisters..anyway your piece was so nicely drawn...I felt as if I was right there with you...
you are such a great writer Lori..
my sister was closer to our Mother and I to my Dad..remembering different things it's as if we lived in two different houses.

Me. Here. Right now. said...

I like to imagine that they were indeed intended just for our youth. I'm from the northern Midwest and they were plentiful then. I hear not so much anymore.

I'm glad you have fireflies SHG. He really hated squirrels, and I never knew why.

MJ3 - He's something alright. I called it "Good Memories of a Father" and not "Memories of a Good Father" for a reason! I'm glad you have your own positive memories.

Thanks for your comments.

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