Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wayback - My Dad

Today would have been my father's 72nd birthday. Here's something I wrote about him from December 9, 2004 from before The Great Deletion.

My father stands about 5' 9". He's not very tall, but he has width. If he was a smaller object, you might say he had a good heft. He definitely takes up space, and he takes up space so well that people imagine him taller. His beard and white hair make him resemble either Santa Claus or Kenny Rogers, but he won't respond well to being called either.

His parents named him Brad, after his father, and he likes people to call him Brad, not Mr. He says that thing that older people say, you know, "Mr. X is my father. Call me Brad." He and my mom named my brother Brad too.

Growing up, my father played games with us. He did physical things, like hold us with one hand or let us grab his thumbs and walk up his body and flip over. My father the jungle gym. Later, when I got older, he played other games with us.

We had fun, mostly, except at Monopoly. My father insists that we play all games by the explicit rules, the ones written on or in the box. So, when we played Monopoly we had to own the three properties to build houses or hotels, we had to pay rent on everything we hit, and woe betide the person who asked if we could put money in 'Free Parking.' "Free Parking is just Free Parking," he'd say. "It doesn't say, 'Pay me for Parking here.'"

He and my mother share a passion for information and knowledge, and they've passed that down to their children. Each of us possesses knowledge about a specific area. Sometimes more than one. Brad my brother knows comic books, computers and computer games. Chloe, my sister (who just had a baby) knows reality TV, specifically Survivor and American Idol and the telecom business. Jenny knows music, all kinds of music. She knows the artist, the song title and probably all the lyrics too. I know movies and TV, and a little comics. (I love to astound my students by telling them that I accept all challenges to knowledge of The X-Men. Only failed to answer one question so far.)

My father and mother like reference books too, so we grew up with an unabridged dictionary, a giant encyclopedia, atlases and movie and TV show guides. Any time one of us said, "Mom, what does BLANK mean?" she or my father would go look it up, even if we didn't want them to.

I'm actually quite worried about my dad. Like I said, he doesn't take care of himself, and he drinks too much. We don't talk about it, except in passing. We all bug my mom about the smoking, so I wonder why that is? Big Brad won't talk about it.

A while ago, about a year and a few months now, my dad fell down. He hurt his hand and his foot. He lost a nail. You know, black and blue and then fell off? We had to have help getting him off the ground outside next to Jenny's pool. For a minute we thought he'd banged his head on the side of the house.

He got up, someone drove him home, and then he quit drinking. For a few months. Sort of like Mom quit smoking for a bit after the SECOND heart attack. Dad's drinking again, and I worry. He might fall down again. He might have cirrhosis. He might be pickling all his organs.

But, we don't talk about it. Not unless one of us feels especially brave that day.

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