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My Dad the Chocolate Barney

Monday, June 15, 2009

When I was a kid, my dad was sick and twisted. I love him dearly but he wasn't normal.
Daddy killed the Easter Bunny
One Easter, when I was about 5 I asked about the bunny. He casually told me that he caught the Easter Bunny sneaking into the house and killed him. Cut him up and put him in the freezer. I was terrified for years to look into the freezer. When we moved a few years later I watched my mother intently as she emptied the freezer. I wanted to get a final look at the Easter bunny. He also claimed responsibility for the death of Santa Claus.

Daddy had a car that could fly
Dad loved to drive us around and try to convince us that his car could float. He would ride us around the block several times until we admitted that we felt the car float. He drove huge GM cars back then. And I swear they did kinda float over bumps.

Daddy was a rolling stone
Dad had been married before he met my mom, so I have an older sister and an older brother. He made sure that we always knew our family. His definition of family was loose, too. When untimely death took my sister's step-father, Dad treated her little brother like family.

During summers, this brave man would gather all five of us to stay with him for a few weeks. In his sparsely furnished apartments he would leave us while he worked. In this way, Dad was a genius. We rarely destroyed anything of value. I mean, we were all about 18 months apart. In hindsight, I kinda feel bad for my oldest sister. She would go from her mother's home with just her and her little brother to Dad's house where she was in charge of two boys and two girls.

Daddy prevented alcoholism
At night, we would sleep on the floor of his living room or separate into the guests rooms if they were available. To get the five of us to sleep Dad taught us a drinking game. We played Spoons and each time you lost we had to drink a gulp of beer. Back then, Dad drank really cheap beer. It was a recession after all and Red, White and Blue beer wasn't going to make us like drinking beer anytime soon. One visit, one of us figured out that the beer tasted better when mixed with fruit juices. Yes. Before the age of ten I was drinking fruit flavored malt drinks.

Over the years, each of us in turn would realize what Dad was doing and decline the beer. It became more fun to watch the younger ones get silly and sleepy.
I love my dad. I can never turn my nose up to beer. Doing so would be akin to saying that I don't like my Dad. And I aint saying that.

Dad eats gross foods
Dad would order lots of pizza for us when we visited. One large pepperoni for us and one large pepperoni with anchovies for him. I am convinced that he did not regularly eat anchovies - only when we were visiting. Every once in a while the boys would be dared to eat an anchovy laden pizza. We figured that if one of us could tolerate the pizza then he know that the game was over and start ordering two pepperoni pizzas. It never happened. Today, anchovies do not frighten me. I welcome the smell of them, cuz they remind me of Dad and his silly tactics to horde pizza for himself.

Dad is picky about his TV
We watched a lot of videos when visiting Dad. As a baby boomer and student of the civil rights era, he felt compelled to augment our education with videos.
We watched old episodes of Amos and Andy to be educated on early TV and how it minstrelled the black culture. Imagine being a kid at your dad's feet and he is cursing at the TV. Cursing at the video that He Rented from the store and pointing out every stereotype and caricature. Then suddenly, he gets misty remembering his grandmother's love for the show.
Confusing.... and funny.

Then there were the blaxploitation movies of the 70s that he forced us to watch. Every visit a new movie, a new indignation remembered by Dad. He would spin tales of going to the movies with friends and leaving angry. I love watching those movies now. They remind me of Dad being angry at the TV and of being a kid. My favorite is still Blacula.

Dad also had a wacky streak. One day he snuck in a video before he went out for the night for us to watch. We were expecting some old pimp movie with guys wearing platforms and boas. Or an afro wearing good girl out for revenge with a gun. What we got was Faces of Death. Yes, there were guns but none of the fine drama you find in those old flix from the 70s. When he came home later that evening, he snickered while asking us if we enjoyed the movie. He played pranks like that on us a lot.

Dad loved his square burgers

Dad made sure that we knew our extended family. We took trips to Chicago, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Georgia and North Carolina. Dad was a man of habit, as well. No matter where we went, we always stopped at a Wendy's. We would take I-75 from Ohio to Georgia and stop every few hours for coffee and food at Wendy's. When I got old enough to drive to fast food restaurants, I avoided Wendy's for years. Now they are my second choice behind Steak N Shake. During the trips, we listened to jazz. Not this stuff you hear now but real classic jazz. I think only two of us enjoy jazz now. The other three can't stand to hear it anymore.

Talking to Dad now is tricky as he works for GM, I never know what mood he will be in when we speak. Will he be railing against the corporate machine or the government? Will he be considering retirement? Will he be talking about the upcoming jazz concert at the park? I never know.

Dad was protective
I went away to college in the early 90s. About 3 hours from him. That did not matter. He called my dorm room every Saturday at 8:30 am. This was before voicemail and cell phones. No matter what I did on Friday night, I had to be in my room by Saturday morning or I panicked. In return, he faithfully deposited 20 dollars into a savings account for me each week.

I will always be a beer loving, 1970's movie watching, jazz loving child of my father forever.

Happy Father's Day

Crafty Update
I completed the Red and White Granny Square


DiscKnits said...

I guess we all have wacky dads of sorts! It's great to recognize and love that our dads may not be perfect, but they're our dads and we love them anyway.

Suse-the-slow-knitta said...

he sounds fab!!

Cristina said...

Every one may have some faults in it but the argument to love with father only this that he is our dad. Becuz dad is dad we come in the world with his source.

madonnaearth said...

Awesome, awesome dad! Great post!

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