Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's Father's Day

Sunny - Hi 117 Lo 87 for Baghdad, Iraq
Scattered Showers - Hi 79 Lo 69 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Father and Daughter, Paul Simon


As a small child I adored my father despite the fact that he neglected my mother, brother and me. He was tall (to me) and handsome. SD had chiseled features that men in Hollywood aspire to have. I remember his laugh. But what I remember more than anything else was his lack of interest in his family. I have done my best to try and forget all the awful things he did to us--In high school I once dated a nice young Christian boy and he told me, "You have to let go of that anger, Cath. You have to let go." Some things are just hard to forget. I have two fond memories of him - Once the SD took me out to a farm where we searched for arrowheads. There is more to the story, but I’ll hold on to the rest for myself. The other good memory was mentioned here. There were long stretches of time where he would just disappear. Other times I was his decoy to get out of the house. Once he took me out to go to the store to get a surprise for my mom… Instead, he took me to a house, where there was another kid… a little boy maybe a year or two older than me, plopped me down in front of the television while he and the woman that answered the door disappeared for awhile… Yeah… nice, huh? I recall he coached me on the way home. “You just need to keep quiet. We only went to the store and got Daddy cigarettes.” I don’t remember if my mom questioned me. She knew… she knew already. Once, he threw my brother across the room looking for money. I don’t ever remember him showing affection to my little brother- ever. He was a big gambler- craps. He would lose entire paychecks. The electric would be turned off in the house. We never went hungry. My mother was resourceful and somehow managed to keep us fed. I remember another time when he broke into my piggy bank to buy cigarettes and beer and to go hang out and gamble. I remember crying and pleading with him, “Daddy, why are you doing that? Mommy wants me to save my money!” Pathetic little man. So, as you can imagine, it was a blessing that he walked out on us when I was five or six, Terry must have been two or three.

Once he left, I created an imaginary father. In my mind my Dad was the best. I remember making up stories and telling my friends what a great guy he was… I found myself believing my own made up stories. Now, I wasn’t without male role models. My grandfather (my dad’s father) has always been the epitome of how a man should behave. He gave me away when Michael and I got married. The only time I truly became overly emotional at our wedding, was when my Uncle Steve (my dad’s brother) embraced me and whispered in my ear, “I only wish your Daddy could be here.” I lost it. At the time, I secretly wanted him there too.

On 3 October, 1995, the day O.J. Simpson was found not guilty (that’s why I remember the date); I received a phone call from my grandfather. “Cass, are you sitting down?”
Oh my God, something has happened to my grandmother! “What Papaw? What’s going on? Is Mom alright?” (I call my grandmother Mom… long story)
“Cass, guess who’s sitting next to me?”
“Your Daddy……………”

The man had been gone for nearly 25 years… I left work, shaking… I flew over to my grandparents…. He was no longer tall and handsome… He was old and weather worn, his voice much deeper than I remembered. His hair was still dark and slicked back just as I remembered. He stood up, walked toward me with a limp. He came over to me and he went to hug me and I remember recoiling. I recall him talking about getting hurt somewhere in the woods…Then the stories began… He weaved a tale of bulls*** that would make Bill Clinton blush. He had been a fisherman… he lived down south in the gulf… would travel up to Alaska and blah blah blah…. I find it difficult to believe he would work that hard doing anything… Keep in mind the movie, Forrest Gump was still in theaters… I drove him to a place where he and I used to go fishing. I had mentally prepared for this moment for 25 years.

“Dad – why did you leave us?” He never provided an answer…

I knew he came back to see if my grandparents were still alive… I’m sure he was hoping to collect any money that might be coming to him. He then started asking questions about my mother. All of a sudden, I realized that this slime ball was just looking for his next meal ticket. I don’t remember what I said, but I can assure you that I spewed venom all over him and made certain that if he so much as went near my mother, I would kill him. I meant that. He caused her more misery than anyone deserves and it was at that moment that I realized that my allegiance to this pathetic little man was not justified and that I had blamed the wrong person all these years.

OK… nice father’s day story, Cath…. Thanks... that was great…

My point… My father was and still is a loser…. He has lost so much because he was not willing to take responsibility for any of his actions… He missed out on raising two great kids and a wife that would have been his partner for life. He missed out on four of the coolest grandkids you could possibly meet and know… We didn’t miss out on anything. He on the other hand missed everything. Had he stuck around, I’m sure my life would be very different…

So, with all this said, I suppose I could feel sorry for myself and in years past I have. But, I know how fortunate I have been to have a mother like mine, to have grandparents like mine. It is no accident that my brother is a terrific father. So, I say to you, is your Dad still around? Embrace him today. Wish him Happy Father’s Day. Father's are a wonderful wonderful people.

Me? I'm going to spend some time with my Papaw... and wish him a Happy Father's Day.

Terry & Kaeli

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Coonass in Texas Joe and I have apparently been indoctrinated into a secret cult... The Cult of Ann....

Jarhead's Firing Range Move over Captain B... There is another Marine that may have my heart... He is brash and unconcerned about being politically correct... He is all Marine... H/T to Lemuel Calhoon and his wonderful Ecosystem.

Michelle Malkin's Hot Air If you haven't been to Michelle's new endeavor... go check it out... she is on a roll... This is my Charlie Angels dream team... Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham.... yeah... very cool.. H/T to Rob

Third World County Here is a fun blog that tackles all the events of today. H/T to Diane

Have a great week everyone!

Some photos from the garden tour I went on last week with my Mother.


David said...

What a powerful reminder of what fathers ought to be. *sigh* I have often kicked myself for being less than the father I believe I could have/should have been.

And yet... My children now grown (for the most part :-) *heh*) are still my children. Lovely Daughter dropped in yesterday for "Dadoo's Day" and together with Wonder Woman and Son & Heir, the four of us had a comfortable family time.


Even with the kids mostly on their own, now (although S&H does have a year of college to go and is here for the summer), I've realized that I can still become a better father to them.

Thanks for your powerful reminder of reasons to strive to be a better father.

Oh, and thanks for the kind words and the linkage. I appreciate that.

Leigh said...

It is amazing how many of us have survived similar stories - except mine involved my mother. It is always hard during these times, when listening to the homily at church or trying to select a card, to deal with the "thanks for the great times/all you did for me" stuff. They don't make any cards that say, "you walked out, left us to fend for ourselves but it turned out all right, so all is forgiven." I think we do come away with a highly fine tuned understanding about responsibilities we owe others. I've been blessed to have been placed in the lives of young women twice who have been abandoned by family. It's sort of a "pay it forward" thing. Thanks for sharing.

Cathy said...

David and Leigh, thank you both for the kind words.

As a young person, I always thought my story was unusual, but I have found over the years that there are others that have had a similar experience. The best part of the story is knowing that you can change the pattern and not allow it to repeat.

Thanks to both of you for coming by.

Mark said...

Looks like you got spammed. Anyway, I like the Paul Simon song and the purple flower. Or is that violet?

Cathy said...

It's clematis.