Friday, December 2, 2016
Thoughts on a Dying Father
I won't whitewash it. He was a hard father to have in many ways, and we clashed. Sparks flew. We threw punches at each other more than once. He had his hands full with me, and I simmered with rage at him for years. Spit and polish did their best to keep war demons at bay. He was rigid in his rules and harsh with consequences. One time I defied his order that I wash the car. He shaved my head. I was in seventh grade. Everybody had long hair. My girlfriend dumped me. He was also generous to a fault and loving beyond measure. His best friend was a black officer in the sixties. He loved children. He loved to sing. He loved sex and was married twice, six kids of his own and four step children. His biceps were as big as a tree branch. He let me use his credit card when my car broke down in a Montana blizzard. He drove two and a half thousand miles to nurse me when I was crippled and poisoned after a snakebite. He wanted me to be more like him. I am trying.