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my Dad

This tag is associated with 8 posts

Aeronautical Porcine Creatures!

flying-pigYep, pigs must be flying!

I’m actually writing about a sporting event.

(for the new reader, you’ve heard of sports widows?  I’m a sports orphan.  My Dad, if he wasn’t playing, coaching or officiating baseball, basketball, football and hockey, he was watching them!  Being disabled at age 12, my Dad could no longer relate to me.  See?  Sports Orphan.)

Consequently, I occasionally watch Olympic events, but none of the sports listed above.  The last time I watched an entire baseball game was probably with my Dad.  And he passed in 1977.

And certainly have no interest in any foreign sport.

My roommate hails from CHICAGOLAND.  And, while she is not a big sports fan, has loyalty to the region of her birth.  In spite of the fact she has lived in Arizona since 1981.

Which brings me to the whole pigs flying thing.  She wanted to watch Game Seven of the Chicago Cubs/Cleveland Indians World Series last night.

And she didn’t want to watch it alone…

Sigh.

So, I joined her in watching the game.  Turns out, it was a pretty even match-up (except for that Cleveland pitcher who was more of cyborg than man!)

And, we watched the entire game together.  Including the tarping of the field and through the Tenth inning.  All the way to the end.

Congratulations Cubbies!

And hats off to the Indians.  Both sides appeared gentlemanly and gave it their all.

Unlike the players in the political arena.  The game was peppered with thoroughly nasty political commercials.  And reports of vandalism and violence continue.

No riots or violence were reported following the World Series.

Maybe there’s a lesson which can be learned from this?

chicago_cubs_2016

PS – The Joe Maddon for President bumper stickers will continue for sale on the sidebar through the election.  Joe is the Cubs manager.  All monies raised are donated to a charity of Joe’s choosing (he does this a lot!)

Knives Of My Youth

There were a couple, or three.

The first I owned because of my Father’s disconnect.

He was raised on the East Coast, in a more poor part of town, by a railroad policeman/former Marine.  An Irish neighborhood.

In my mind, his youth resembled a Dead-End Kids movie, except not in NYC.

And, laws aside, there were knives and guns around.  And his Dad’s rules about them – were something akin to ‘touch anything without permission and you get a beating’!

Fast-forward to 1960s Arizona.  A desert, agricultural college town.  Lots of farm and ranch kids.  About 3/4 or whom carried some kind of folder with them.  Girls included.

And me.

We had a couple guns at home, which I was not allowed to touch (see above).

One day, while I was in grade school, my Dad came into the back yard where I was playing.  And he handed me a folding knife.  I was going to be leaving for camp in the Summer, and he thought I should have one of his (!)

CamcoWaterfallCelluloidJack

not mine

AND, not unlike The Dead End Kids, he gave me a quick lesson in Mumbley-Peg with it!  Not understanding knives didn’t stick well in the dry, desert dirt.  See, disconnect.

None of my friends had ever seen such a game.  And, anyway, they didn’t bring their knives out at school.

And, I took the knife to camp, a fellow camper borrowed it, cut himself, got taken to the ER(!), and I never saw it again!  He was okay, though.

Fast forward to a year or so later.  I’d made friends with a couple of kids a block over, including a little red headred headed girl (!)  (Puberty had yet to hit, and, anyway, she was younger than me and a friend’s sister…I wonder where she is now? STOP THAT!)

My birthday came around, and surprise-surprise, the little red haired girl stopped by with a present!  (Hell, most of my friends hadn’t given me anything!)

And what do you think it was…?

NO, not a folding knife.

A sheathed belt knife!  How cool was THAT?  Of course, my Dad immediately glommed onto it for his camping and fishing trips.

not mine

not mine

And it resided in the truck’s over-the-cab camper for years.  Until my Dad passed and everything was given away or sold.  😦

Now, my maternal grandfather (aka ‘Gramp’) always carried a knife!  When I was a kid, I thought this was a disconnect, as he was an East Coast banker-type.  The only time we ever say it was when there were presents.

Used to open the boxes!  A Christy gentleman’s knife!

not his

not his

And it, too, is lost to history.  😦

Although, if I really wanted one, Christy still makes them!

FTC – no companies gave me any of these knives for commercial endorsement – now go away!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dad, Belatedly

Dad1

Yesterday, November 16, would have been my Father’s 100th birthday. Instead, he passed at age 61.

There were so many life lessons he was unable to impart to me.

Calm reflection (he was an angry rage kind of guy); Moderation (he was an alcoholic and a compulsive overeater); Mechanical ability (I once saw him attempt to repair a leaky radiator hose with Scotch tape(!)  I was a kid, and even I knew that wouldn’t work).

But I knew he loved me.

After all, when I was born prematurely (and my twin brother didn’t make it) he hurriedly ran to the nearest church to pray for my survival.

He tried to make me an athlete, as he had been.  Alas, my developing a physical disability @ age 12 stopped those attempts in it’s tracks.  And from that point forward, he was unclear how to relate to me.

I only saw him cry once.  When he told me how proud he was of my graduating the Eighth Grade, and that I never asked him for money.  To be fair, I didn’t know I was allowed to!  When my Mother passed, he kept his grief private.

I’m certain his childhood was horrific.  A stern father who had been a Marine and railroad policeman, and his having grown up poor during the Depression.

He had not been raised to be a hugger.  I don’t remember him ever hugging me.  A firm handshake was the order-of-the-day.

But, he did teach me a few important things.  Loyalty (be true to your friends – he was to his); Honesty (your word IS your bond); and yes, Love.

He loved his wife (my mother) with all his heart.  Watching her die @ age 41 of emphysema must have been horrible. (I was in the Second Grade, what did I know?)  And in spite of the fact they were estranged, my (half)sister was his jewel.  He was very protective of her, which probably in-part caused the estrangement.  But she was another connection to his wife, which I don’t think she ever saw.

And he kept his heart disease hidden from me until it was too late.

He was flawed – he was human.

I love you and miss you, Dad.  Happy Birthday!

I’VE MADE IT!

I’VE MADE IT, yesterday.

I’m not normally a superstitious person.  I do sometimes say ‘knock-on-wood’ (jokingly) when wishing for a positive outcome, but really don’t believe it.  I own no rabbit’s feet or lucky charms.  I don’t throw spilled sodium chloride over my shoulder.  I’ve not crossed my fingers since I was, well, 7 or 8.

However, I do pay attention to specific calendar anniversaries, and some events have meaning to me.

And sometimes, I’m compulsive about them.

Case-in-point:  My Father passed away, after a series of smaller heart attacks in 30 days prior, from a heart attack, on August 14, 1977.  He was 61 years old.  His birthday was November 16th.  MY birthday is November 24.

I am currently 61 years-of-age.  (You do see where I’m going with this?)

We are of  similar physical types, and have similar ‘issues’ – like weight ‘issues’, diabetes.  Fortunately (knock-on-wood) I’ve no apparent heart problems.

Subtract 16 from 24, this leaves 8.  8 from 14 is 6.

YESTERDAY WAS AUGUST 6, AND I’M STILL ALIVE!

I don’t know why, but for the past 5 years or so, as I approached age 61, this loomed over me.  My Dad’s dad lived until he was 68.  My maternal grandfather until 85.  This shouldn’t have been an issue, or even a blip on my radar.  I’m a rational person.

But it was.

It didn’t help that I was born premature, with an unnamed twin brother, who died – I nearly did;  Lost my Mother in grade school due to emphysema; had a near-fatal automobile accident (in which my daughter was lost); have had flesh-eating bacteria, diabetes and two kinds of cancer.  Life and Death have cropped up more than with most with me, I think.

I’ve made it, AGAIN.

Still flipping off the Reaper!  🙂

PS – If I suddenly fall off the Internet, in the next couple of days, you’ll know he was delayed in traffic.

The Beatles

The Silicon Graybeard (and many others on the ‘Net) reminded me tonight is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles performing on Ed Sullivan.  Their big American break.

A real snooze for me.

1)  I was into classical music – popular music (like Rock and Roll) just didn’t do it for me.  And, I had memories of my Dad ranting about Elvis (and my Sister, the Bobby Soxer, fawning over him) years earlier.

2)  My Dad’s rant continued regarding The Beatles long hair.  “Unkempt, unclean, like a beatnik”, etc.

AND 3)  (most important) being a 6th Grader, I was extremely jealous of the 6th Grade girls fawning all over these British invaders!  What was so special about them, anyway?

Of course, regardless of my and other Dad’s rants, they went on to super stardom and changing the face of music forever.

Used to be there was a derisive term for classical music – longhair music.  Obviously that went out of favor!

…and then, they died of an overdose…

My good friend Old NFO discussed this most recent of ‘infamous’ drug deaths.  I was reminded of the PBS Series on JAZZ.  They’d mention some historic jazz figure, and then, more often than not came this line:

…and then, they died of an overdose…

So sad.

Is it the artistic personality, fame, fortune or humanity which binds all these folks together?  Are we all, at our core, addicts of some sort?  (Wikipedia – List of Drug/Alcohol related deaths)

I come rife with an addictive personality.  I have excess weight, due to compulsive overeating.  I’m neurotic, but not particularly artistic.  My real mother died when I was in grade school as a direct result of her cigarette addiction.  She had emphysema. ( I remember her turning off the oxygen tank and lighting up!)  My father was an alcoholic, ate too much and smoked cigars.  I come by my addictions honestly.  Even though I’m getting ‘help’ for my addictions, in all seriousness, I don’t expect to see 85, like my maternal grandfather did.  My fraternal grandfather made it to 68.  My own father to 61.

I’m 61.

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  She would have been 31.  Auto accident, age 12.

At least it wasn’t drugs or alcohol.  😦

I love and miss you Molly!Molly birthday1

Father’s Day Courage

My Dad was a very complex individual.  He certainly had courage, but he had his unresolved fears, as well.  He had amazing will power, but not in all areas of his weaknesses.  Guess that’s why they’re weaknesses.

My Dad did a stint ‘working on the railroad’ back in the forties and fifties.  He was still living in Connecticut, and his father (the former Marine sharpshooter) was a Lieutenant in the NY,NH & H Railroad Police (The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad).  This was long before AMTRAK.

I’m certain, at least in part, my father obtained the RR police job through nepotism.  That doesn’t mean he wasn’t qualified, but getting a railroad job was exceedingly difficult.

One late night, he was on a platform awaiting another train’s arrival.  The platform was basically empty.  Suddenly, two drunken sailors appeared and approached my dad.  And proceeded to beat the living crap out of him.

As he told the story (being a macho former college football lineman) he tried to defend himself as best he could.  Have you ever been in a physical confrontation?  Against multiple assailants?  It can’t be easy, given just one can be problematic.  And these two guys were fit Navy guys.

Ultimately, he found himself down on his hands-and-knees, covering his face and eyes with his hands, and his ribs with his arms, while being kicked by two men.  At least one had brought him into that position by kicking him in the crotch.

And there he was, awaiting death.  And appealing to God to give him the strength to survive.

Suddenly, there was a break in the pain and nausea, and he lunged sideways, tackling one of his assailants.  After banging his head on the platform (I assume multiple times), he faced the second sailor.  He threw him off the platform and down onto an empty track.

Then he somehow made his way to a railroad room where he could lock himself away.  There was no such thing as instant communication and backup in those days.

After returning to work, he found out two sailors had reported having been assaulted on the platform.  One with a concussion, the other a broken back!  No one connected my father to the injuries.  Or at least tried to make the connection.

A couple years later, I was born.

Fast-forward about 20 years after that, my Dad was officiating a Pop Warner football game.  And one of those events that seems to be more common these days occurred.  Some kiddie-footballer’s dad took offense to a call and began physically attacking the officials!  And a melee ensued.  Fans and officials fighting all over the field!   A buddy of my father’s, another official, was being choked by one of the irate fan fathers.

And, here comes my Dad, 20+ years after the sailor fight.  He was able to pull the attacker off his friend, and then was blindsided by a second idiot, having his eyeglasses broken for the effort.  He was obviously much older and overweight.  The end result was three crowd members were arrested, fortunately, no officials.  And no serious injuries.

My dad’s friend presented him with a trophy, a football in a kicking tee with a plaque reading COURAGE.

He certainly had that.  And he left us way too young.

He died six years before Molly was born.  He would have revelled in her.

I no longer have my Dad, nor my daughter.  I still have the trophy, somewhere.

Eyes and Ears!

…or at least eyes.  Or ears.

When I began shooting (at age 6, with my Dad) the concept of sight and hearing protection were foreign.  Point down range and touch ‘er off!  I was told I’d get used to the ringing.  Even a Colt Vest Pocket .25 is loud with no protection.

Years later, when I renewed shooting as a young ‘adult’, I was wearing protective lenses (well, eyeglasses, anyway), but no hearing protection could be had.  Dave (the genius mechanic) and I soon determined that placing something in our ears besides elbows was probably a good idea.

Of course, in the interim, there was much play with fireworks, including the black cat firecracker lit waist high, arm cocked to throw, and subsequent premature explosion next to my left ear.  The hand didn’t function for a few moments, but the finger count did show a quorum, so all was okay.  So was the tinnitus.

Now, when shooting, I religiously wear eyes and ears.  I still sometimes have ringing, mostly due to the overdosing of NSAIDS.  And I do have some high-frequency hearing loss in my left ear.  A ticking watch goes tick-tick-tick at my right ear, and pong, pong, pong at my left.

I blame the firecracker.

Wear your protection, people!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…