My father left this blue, rocky orb three days after Christmas six years ago, but in his last look I recognized contentment; a circle closed; a job complete; a battle won. During his lifetime he requested very little of me other than to be a gentleman; mainly that I honor my mother and watch out for my younger brothers. |
He taught me many things…
How to make a snowman…drive a car…pull his finger…April Fool tricks like filling bon-bons with soap…throw and catch a baseball and a football…mix a cocktail…wash and wax a car…mow and trim a lawn…catch night crawlers…bait a hook…fish for Blue Gills…row a boat…tie Windsor and four-in-hand necktie knots …fart four times consecutively with the first four steps out of bed…float on my back…make a fart machine (more later)…use hand tools…shave…polish shoes…tamp a pipe properly…reload a Zippo…blow out a bathroom with an explosive bowel movement…mix paint and clean brushes…hog the electric train…whittle…cook a roast…make model airplanes…sketch and fancy lettering…
Nose whistling, saliva bubbling, how to tie a bowtie, underarm and hand fart noises, mouth whistling (all types), and loud belching I learned on my own.
During tough times (to me) during puberty Dad reminded me that in such times he’d had no father with whom to go, my grandfather having died as a young man. I was named for my granddad, and I don’t mind telling you it’s just a little weird to look at a gravestone bearing your own EXACT name. It seems to beckon. No thanks. I’m not ready for the ultimate fall.
As a youngster I enjoyed his corny jokes that made me laugh, but as a teen thought they were stupid.
After giving me a watch on my eleventh birthday he asked, “What time is it?”
“Oh, well then you should see a dentist.”
The problem was he kept pulling that very same gag for years always getting a kick out of himself whether or not it sparked laughter or irritation.
I had the experience from the other end with my own children. For example:
In early May... “Hey, what is today?” I would ask one of my little ones.
“May the fourth.”
“Be with you.”
“Star Wars Day! Get it?”
They’d giggle and say that was a good one, and try it on their friends. BUT as teenagers they’d shake their heads, and with an annoyed look walk away. “That’s not funny,” they’d call over their shoulders putting as much space between us as possible.
The fart machine was a winner across-the-board through time-and-eternity with fraternity brothers, co-workers, and children (of all ages). It’s a timeless invention…well, for males anyway. You fashion a steel bracket, maybe eight inches long, and a find a large, steel washer. With thick rubber bands (2) you attach the washer to each end of the bracket. Now you’re ready to go! (Or ready to rip!) Simply wind up the washer and sit on the whole device. As you lift one of your butt-cheeks, the washer unwinds and makes an authentic noise. Depending upon your control, you can issue anything from a loud blast to a series of short rippers, to a squeezed-off sickening thunderschmear.
Dad was a talented artist and could also craft any type of fancy lettering including calligraphy. I tried to emulate him, but alas, the talent is lacking. I can cartoon a bit, but that’s about it.
In an upstairs sitting room of my home there is a framed picture of him at twenty-four-years-old with pipe in mouth sitting at his sketch pad. Alongside the picture is one of his pipes, a Zippo lighter, a pipe tamper, a pouch of tobacco, and two books of poetry. One of those, “The Standard Book of British and American Verse” was the first Christmas gift he received from Mom.
Our signatures are almost identical, and in that likeness I see him every day.
Still, I miss you, Pop.
Copyright 2011 by Gene Myers.
Author of AFTER HOURS: Adventures of an International Businessman (2009), Strategic Publishing Group, New York, NY; and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (2010), PublishAmerica, Fredericksburg, MD.
Both are eBook available in Kindle and Nook.
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