Once again circumstances have forced me to break my "funny posts only" here on the old blog. My dad died suddenly about a month after my grandma died. Well, it was sudden to my sister and I; my mom said he had been dealing with more and more health issues.
Your family members are your first role models, for good or ill, and mine did a good job; they kept my sister off the stripper pole and me from being a performance artist.
other things, dad taught me what lures work for what fish, how to read a
body of water, how to smell an approaching rain storm, and how to punch
without breaking your thumb. He also took me to all the Star Wars, Star Trek, and Superman movies. Did he fall as crazy for Star Wars
as I did? Probably not, but he still looked at and encouraged dozens,
if not hundreds of my artistic renderings of Darth Vader and assorted
He made up stories every night for both
me and my sister when we were little. I don't remember much about them
now, of course, other than vague themes. I seem to remember his studies
of Native Americans played a big role.
As a teenager and
a punk rocker, I had to rebel against what I saw as his narrow-minded,
old-fashioned ways. No matter how bad family battles got, however, there
was always a reprieve on the river.
And as much as I
fought against him, I've found throughout the years that I share many of
his traits, along with a lot of the anxieties and neuroses which I had
no idea at all that he had until recently. My annoying habit of coming
up with a project idea and having to start right now? That's totally
inherited, as is my nightstand covered with a pile of books to read
before falling asleep.
Some of these projects seemed
like sheer torture at the time, but afterwards, they gave me a sense of
pride - like how I can now replace a car's cooling system, thanks to an
all-afternoon project that I swore was never going to end.
with having us, dad served and was wounded in Viet Nam, which led to
him discussing all the ways to keep me out of the hypothetical Gulf War I
draft. It also stopped him from both hunting and attending church. We
always wanted to ask him about the war, but never really felt
comfortable, and now it's too late.
He saw six
continents, earned a PhD, led a teacher's strike, was married for 48 years, taught
science and history, and taught his kids how to make an impressive
marinara sauce. Did he know how much we loved, respected, and
appreciated him before he died? I hope so. Unfortunately I also
inherited his tendency to keep my emotions and feelings buried and so a
lot of our conversations were kind of surface.
So as hard as it
might be, make sure to tell your parents how much they meant to you,
even if you have to lie a little bit, or write an anonymous note or
something. Trust me, it'll make everyone feel a lot better.
I'm looking forward to getting back to the funny soon.