Monday, September 2, 2013

Daddy Dearest

Some of the first memories that I have of my daddy are of him raking leaf piles while I twirled around watching as the brown leaves fell from way up high down on top of my head and into my arms. I remember begging him to let me jump in the pile, then when I did he would dig me out again to tickle me.

Dad took the picture of me in the bucket (seen on my other blog, creatively written). I remember getting the bucket during my bath. I was thinking of the nursery Rhyme, "Rub a Dub, Dub, Three men in a Tub." Since I was taking a bath with my two brothers, I guess I thought I was one of the guy's. I was absolutely sure that the bucket would float in the bathtub, I was surprised when it didn't, Dad captured the moment for all posterity.

Also one of the first memories that I have of my Dad is the day that he broke my little broom stick. I was playing a game with my brothers, standing on a square of the living room floor that had been left uncarpeted, and Daniel (My little brother) was hitting my older brother with my broom stick. I was trying to stop him when Dad lost his temper, broke the broom stick and threw it down the stairs. I held a grudge about that one for a long time, even making him buy me a new broom stick years and years after it happened!!

We all went up with my Dad to Uncle Mo's house one day because Dad was thinking about buying Uncle Mo's big red van. I didn't like Uncle Mo's house too much because his house smelled like smoke.

They had a weird stone floor in part of the house (something like broken pieces of layered shale). Plus they had a plastic runner down their dark front hallway and off to the side of the front hall was a room with plastic covered furniture in it.

I remember that Uncle Mo had one of the first Apple computers, with a mouse even, in his study and Aunt Martha, his wife, had a gumball machine that was pretty neat.

Another weird thing about their house to me, was the circular glass table and round glass chairs in their dining room. Plus they had bar stools at the counter which were hard to climb up on. We would climb up there and huddle, while Aunt Martha tried to make us feel comfortable by offering us candy (only we had learned the lesson about not taking candy from strangers, and I didn't know them at the time, so...).

To get into the house you walk through their weird smelling garage, I still couldn't describe the smell to you, the closest I could come to is "Sickly Sweet."

Then you come to the foyer with the basement leading off to the right and the living room on up ahead. To me the scaryiest part of the house was there basement.

Walking down the linoleum steps into the basement, you decend into a dark gloomyness. The smell of stale smoke and metal is prevalant down there and if you glance into the first room that you come to you would be confronted with a bear head, it's glassy eyes stare at you and the bear seems to snarl at your discomfort. If you looked further you could see all sorts of other taxidermy hanging on the walls, the deer antlers and latter the elk head. All of this interspersed with mounted guns and western themed pictures.

One other thing about Uncle Mo's house was his dog Nipper, we were both fascinated and scared of him. He did live up to his name, yet he was also funny because he would bark at the television screen if it showed any horses. My Uncle called the horses Ol' Rosco, after his horse.

Anyway... Dad bought the old red van from Uncle Mo. Then he fixed it up with bench seats in the back and a table that could be lowered to form a bed. Then the whole kit and caboodle was covered in brown carpeting. This is the van that they used to move us to our new home after Grandma Dorsey died.

Dad has a funny habit, the couch seems to suck him in and he gets stuck there sometimes. Though he is a hard worker, he installs heating and air conditioning units around town (and sometimes out of state).

Dad used to bring us around to his job sites and we would entertain ourselves by walking around picking up screws and nails. It was really fascinating to walk around his job sites, through the framing of the walls, imagining what each room would be. Dad once added the copper plating to the spire of a new church that was being built, don't know how he ended up with the job.

Dad always had random screws and nails, hinges, bolts, and nuts. Odds and ends, bits of wire, pipes and other pieces of metal all a conglomerate of stuff that he kept in the basement and then later the shed that he laid out and built.

Dad was so perfectionistic when he built the shed. He got sand and leveled the whole thing and then laid brick using a level on each one. Then he built the shed with the metal pieces that the land lord sent over and he built shelving into the walls.

Dad liked to save random pieces of wood as well and he saved it behind the shed, thus spawning our imaginative wood working projects.

Dad built a little carpeted cat house, which the cats avoided, out of principle of course. Later on (when I brought one home) he built an interesting multi-level pigeon house, thus spawning a pigeon obsession that carries on today. (He has one lonely little bird and my mom doesn't want him to get more, poor daddy).

Dad would put up the swamp cooler every year and he would have us hold it while he fixed the wood to keep it in place. I remember the smell of the aspen filters as he filled them up with water.

He also likes to garden. I was mad at him when he cut out the grass to start a garden, because I liked the large lawn, but I soon grew to love his gardens. Over the years he competed with the neighbor, who was an Indian and always seemed to have things planted and growing way before dad did.

One year Dad decided that things were going to be different. So he got a large plastic garbage can and I found him outside mixing mud at midnight during the full moon. I went out there to tease him in his efforts as he plunged the shovel up and down in the mud. Yes sirree, that was the year he was going to beat out old Frank Talker. I don't recall if he really did beat him out.

Dad's gardens have been of varying success over the years. They were lined with square pieces of wood and there were about five of them placed strategically around the yard.

Actually there was one more, a little square garden full of mint, and lemon balm and other herbs. The mint and spearmint were the ones that usually dominated it though. That little garden was placed before the hole in the fence that we used to get into the back fields, "The Snake Pit," as we called it back there.

Dad is the one who would always bring up the guitar for our annual family reunion up in a little ghost town/resort town called Ophir. It was a boom town from way back when people went out looking to mine. Called Ophir after something in the bible, it has something to do with gold.

There is a mine shaft that we pass every year, they thought they had found gold, but they ended up being fooled by the fools gold!! There is also a crystal mine a bit further up that we went into one time, before the adults decided that it was too dangerous.

So Dad would always play his guitar, and one of our uncles would play his banjo. Everyone would sing old time songs and they would always try to get me to dance, which I was embarrassed to do, but did every once in a while.

Now for some reason, though Dad still brings his guitar, no one knows any of the old time songs. So it's not fun singing around the camp fire any more.

Dad used to take us fishing and hiking. Some how whenever we go somewhere with Dad we either get lost, or he likes to pretend that we are lost to freak us out.

He likes to do off the wall stuff to freak us out!! When I was about five or so, the lake was flooded almost up to the overpass on center street. Dad drove us over there to look at it, then for some crazy reason he decided to drive into it. The water started coming into the car and my brothers and I started screaming, imagining that fish were going to get in to bite our toes we picked up our feet onto the seat!!

He also likes to tell us stories. When ever we go anywhere with him he always seems to have met someone there, or he knows something about the area we are passing through.

Every memorial day we take the same route down to the cemetery and dad tells us about working at the railroad, loading sheet metal. If we drive to Arizona dad tells us about his LDS mission and living in Needles California.

Dad also likes to make up ridiculous songs out of nowhere. See if you can figure this one out...

"Oh the weather in Nebraski, is colder than Alaski, especially if you wear no clothes!!"

This sung with a sort of serious cowboy drawl. One of the many marvelous bits of insight that he randomly chooses to sing about.

Dad was a little rebellious when he was growing up. He used to ride a motorcycle, and he hung out with the hippies. He used to have his friends over and they would hold dance parties in the basement.

The floor down there is still black tile, with speckled bits of color throughout. He painted neon colors on the walls of his room in the basement and then used a black light to make it all stick out (my little brother does the same thing, he's a lot like Dad). We found a strange looking drawing on the wall when we took off the plaster to remodel, kind of evil looking, Muwahahaha!!

I think that he might have experimented with drugs at one time, though he's never outright said that he did, (maybe he just drank alcohol and smoked). He likes to tell us now about a couple that he knew that got into drugs and who wasted away and ended up dying young. It's a sad thing really.

He also likes to tell us all about his dog Rebel, how crazy he was. Or his dog Blue who would come home with porcupine needles in his nose, or he would get sprayed by skunks.

Dad also tells us about Cousin Eddy all the time, he says it just like that "Cousin Eddy and I..." I believe cousin Eddy was the star of the baseball team, played sports in high school, was a daredevil, I Dad looked up to Cousin Eddy.

Dad grew up in Orem, Orem had one main ditch running through the center of it and everyone up there had orchards and water rights. His parents, well actually Grandparents used to get there water from the ditch. The ditch is in fact still there and I think they run water along parts of it.

The house that my family owns up there used to be an underground house, then it was built upon later with red brick. There is a chute for the coal, and a room still filled with coal. Plus out by the front door is a metal pipe that they would fill with oil for the heater.

My Dad was the favorite uncle because he would do crazy things like taking us out driving, way before we could even get a permit. He would let us tool around in the parking lot of the church, or the stadium. Thus he was really popular with my cousins (for this and many other reasons, being that he is fun to tease).

Sometimes I miss driving places with my Dad, and listening to his funny stories. I miss the way that he would place his forehead on mine and look in my eyes, it always reminded me of a blue eyed owl. Plus he used to blink his eye lashes on mine. It always made me laugh!! Dad also used to run strands of my hair between his fingernails... now my little boy does it once in a while.

I don't miss my Dad's negative attitude, he sometimes brings it out and I hate it when he does it. Its a habit he picked up from Grandpa.

Yet I still love my silly, story telling, singing ol' Dad. (I forgot vitamin taking, he's always taken little packets of vitamins for as long as I can remember, and buy's large quantities of Ice Cream!!)


Michelle said...

He sounds like quite a character!

Strawberry Girl said...

Oh he is... funny guy!!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

What a lovely tribute to your daddy Strawberry Girl. I love funny people :)
Yes, I am having to take 6 weeks of Chemo and I'm sorry that I'm just now getting back to your comment from my comment from your comment, lol.
I had a State 2 Melanoma in my Salivary gland in the right cheeck!! Can you believe it? I'm still a little shocked. Looked like a freckle on the outside andhad been there for years. Was never red, scaly or anything.
The only way it got noticed is that the glad inside my cheek swoll up and I began running a high fever. It was trying to spread. Thankfully, they removed it, from the inside, and think they got it all out. The Chemo is standard for that kind of cancer cells. I feel so very blessed that my body reacted the way that it did because I had no clue.
I'm taking oral's not the kind that makes your hair fall out or anything but it morst surely makes you feel pretty rough for a few days after taking it.
Buh, who knew that my bathroom tile felt so cool when laying on it, lol. You have to laugh about some things my dear. Humor is just my way :)
Have a blessed Easter dear lady and that picture of you holding up that beautiful blessing of a child is priceless :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl