These Crazy Times
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I don't talk about my family much on this blog, I'll make a reference now and then, but nothing significant, but today...is different, today is significant. And yes, I know I didn't write about Mother's Day because I just couldn't find the words, I do have a mom, she's married to my dad, I sent her Godiva on her day, so anyway....here goes.
My Dad will be 65 this year, the age that many people retire at, but my Dad is already retried, forced, early do to an on the job injury. This was not an easy pill for him to swallow. He went from being the Dad that went to work every morning, to the Dad that stayed home and did things around the house like cooking, laundry (my Dad can fold a mean fitted sheet, something that I have not mastered as of yet), a role reversal with my mom if you will. This of course, didn't make him any less of a Dad to me, but...when you come from a generation where the man goes out, works hard and helps support the family,(both of my parents work) I saw a change in my Dad.
The last time I saw my father, as I was leaving to come home, I hugged him goodbye and his thinness startled me. I suppose some of the medicine he takes causes this. He must have felt me flinch because he said "skinny Dad, huh?", and I said "yeah, skinny Dad." His arms however were just as strong as I remember them, but as I was pulling away, tears filled my eyes, as reality set in and I wondered what happened to my Dad.
You see...this is how I remember my Dad. Tall, broad shouldered, strong back and legs, calloused hands, perpetually dirty fingernails, rough, loving in his own way, the best way he knew and knows how. My Dad was an Ironworker, he and others like him built the type of buildings that many men and women went to work in daily. I don't know if he every built a skyscraper, I never asked, but I'm sure he did. My Dad did however, take part in building some things for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY and he brought me home a stuffed raccoon, (not a real one), as it was the Mascot of the 1984 Winter Olympics.
My Dad was up at 4 every morning, to work by 6 and home by 6. Inbetween those hours he worked hard, doing physical labor and would come home dirty, stinky, at least one hole burned into his flannel work shirts (yes even summer) from welding and sometimes he'd come home with a pirate patch on his eye, because he'd gotten some metal in it. I never asked how, it just was what it was and life went on.
In the summertime, even after working all day, my mom, brother and I would get in the car and go to the beach after dinner. Dad would roll the windows down in his black Pontiac, turn on the radio and smoke his cigarette, my brother and I in the back seat, my mom in the passenger. My Dad would stand in the water, and let my brother and I crawl up his back, stand on his shoulders and jump into the water, long after I was really too big to stand on his shoulders. And then, usually we'd go get ice cream, Dad would often get the MONSTER CONE with twist ice cream, that's the chocolate and vanilla mixed together, soft serve.
My Dad was the man who, even knowing favors wouldn't get returned, would put new brakes on your car, just "go get your brakes, and bring your car down, I'll take care of it". And he would, in the driveway, on the street, crawled under the car, asking for this wrench or that wrench in muffled tones. Need your oil changed? My Dad would do that too, for his friends. Hell, need anything, my Dad would try to help you out with that too. But it's rare that I remember people helping him. Ironically, I often find myself saying, "I'll take care of it".
My Dad was a rough man and had no problems with enforcing discipline. I hated it then, but I'm sure there were some things that I deserved to get into trouble for. I think it was just understood that he loved us, though it was rarely if ever said. My father gave me a single rose for high school graduation and told me then that he loved me. My Dad also drove over the mountain when I put the car off the road into a ditch and the first thing I saw was his mouth moving, and I thought he was mad, which I learned later, he wasn't mad, he was scared.
My Dad and I had our rough patches, a falling out, a coming back together, through everything, my moving away to college, my coming out, knowing in his heart what I should do, but never telling me what to do as I got older, letting me make mistakes and then listening to me cry about it and never once saying to me "I told you so".
My Dad is a good father, a good man and a great Dad. I wouldn't want another one, nor would I accept anyone but him, for all his faults, strengths, weaknesses and imperfections.
He is human. He is my Dad. And I love him.
I love you Dad!