Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Introducing Dear Old Dad

My dad is funny. And he's kind of strange. But in a good way. Chris says that when my dad and I talk, we speak our own language (which I suppose means that Chris doesn't understand what we are laughing about most of the time). The other day my mom asked me what particular traits Chris found odd about our family. It's a valid question, when you get married, you think your spouse's family is a bit strange (Majaunta, I don't think you are strange; Allen, on the other hand, deserves his own post, but that will have to come at a later date). I told my mom that he found her fascination with the spiritual realm a little different, that the way I can be singularly focused (some might say obsessive) on particular things a bit odd, and my dad, well, the only way to truly understand him is to tell a few stories about him:

The Skunk and the Air Conditioner

My parents have an air conditioner that happens to be outside their bedroom window. One night, about a month ago, a skunk decided to make his home underneath it. Something must have disturbed Mr. Skunk, because he let off his scent and of course, being so close to where they were soundly sleeping, my parents got a big whiff of their new guest. This didn't set so well with my dad. The next morning, I was over at my parent's house and heard the story. I looked out on the lawn and saw something very strange. Walking over to it, I noticed a large rat trap staked into the ground by the air conditioner. Somehow my dad was going to trap that skunk in a rat trap, but I'm not sure how. And, once he was trapped, extracting him might be a problem. I pointed out to my dad that his Skunk Execution was a bit odd, besides the fact that my dogs were more likely to set off the trap than his new house guest. His next tactic was to fill in the hole the skunk had dug and lay wire over it. I like the ingenuity he showed with his first attempt, though.

Fat Kitty and the Hawk

My parents rescued a kitten from a sage bush around the first of this year. Sidney is a beautiful cat and very well fed. In fact, I've taken to calling him Hips because he's so large (and because it bothers my mom when I make fun of him). Last time they weighed him, he rounded out to 18 pounds very nicely. He even has a pouch on his belly that swings when he runs (actually, "running" might be too active a word for what Hips does). This past weekend Chris and I were working in the yard (that's not entirely true, Chris was working and I was harassing him and my dad), and my dad said that Sidney had been outside earlier and raced in the house. He tried to ascertain what had scared the cat and saw a hawk circling above. He surmised that Sidney had been afraid because that hawk was trying to swoop down and pick him up. I asked my dad if the hawk had perhaps been a pterodactyl because only a pterodactyl would be large enough to pick up an 18 pound cat. Any hawk that dared to swoop down and latch onto Hips would be in for a big surprise when he tried to lift off again. Dad insisted that the hawk had been very big and that Sidney's life had been hanging in the balance.

Man Camp & Chapstick

Occasionally my dad has to journey to Nevada for his job. While there he stays in what he calls, "Man Camp." I don't know all the details, but in my head I envision a smelly place where men room together and eat bad food. I do know that the food is bad because I asked as that is important to me. To prepare for Man Camp, dad always packs light, but he always includes chap stick. And when he puts chapstick on, he puts it on. In other words, it doesn't just go on his lips, but the surrounding lip region as well (he has these big hands that resemble a lobster claw so I kind of think the application is due to a lack of dexterity and fine-tuning). Anyhow, apparently he grabbed my mom's not knowing it was tinted, and without looking at the tube, applied it in his typical man-manner--all about his lips and the surrounding region. Dear old dad wore lip stick at man camp. I like that. I also like that he didn't know until the end of the day that his lips were a nice, sumptuous red color. And that no one told him.

I wish I had more time to devote to Dad Stories. I have quite a few. In fact, I know that some of my friends do too. The first time my friend Heidi came over to my house he asked her if she rode the short bus to school. He's just a welcoming kind of guy. He also blessed Chris's loins at our wedding (I'm fairly certain that the word "loin" should never be said out loud and certainly not in front of 150 people). That's my dad. It probably explains a few things about me in a way that simple observation alone could not.


majaunta said...

I think Big Man Jim (as Hannah calls him ) and Allen have several things in common but the only one that I will comment about here is the chapstick application . Aaron was home visiting and he was watching his Dad apply the stuff and after Allen paused , Aaron said in a very serious tone "Dad, you missed a spot on your forehead" Funny thing is Hannah applies her lippy stuff the same way! Like father like daughter.....Jane do you wear lippy stuff?

Jacob and Carrie said...

I love picturing your dad wearing lipstick... but I think I love your inability to let anything slide even more! :) I especially like the part about asking him if the hawk was of dinosaur proportions.

I think you should do profiles on each family member. You are a great writer, and you make me laugh.

Sarah Taylor said...

My goodness, your dad is great! I liked him the moment I met him, but I think now I'll be even more compelled to spend more time with him. If I stick around long enough, maybe I'll get to witness one of his "special" moments, too! As for the chapstick application problem, it must definitely be a man-thing. Most of the guys I know do it the same way. Zach's never done colored, but he did do shiney once or twice, on purpose. It was out of desperation to calm severely chapped lips, though, so I guess that means I can't tease him. Darn!

joe and karen said...

Oh Jane, I have laughed and laughed over your last 2 entries. We did not want to embarrass Chris, so we didn't respond to the story about him. The funny thing is that Majaunta shows that "thing" to all her close friends..... so we were included. What a beauty.
Please don't leave your mother out of the limelight. I have a story on her that involves the "extended family" that gets together in Colorado. There was a large group of us up there and Sister Sheridan and Bro Henry had invited some guests. One of them was giving a rather LONG and DETAILED story.... well, some memebers of the "family" started getting restless and went into the big bedroom, your mother being one of them. Bro Joe, Sister Majaunta and I also went. Sister Connie found a ENORMOUS skillet in the closet. You should know about it since you married into the family that gave it to sis and bro Harnly. Sister Connie proceeded to do imitations of a commercial for Golden Corral that was on TV that involved a skillet. She had everyone rolling.... but we were trying to be quiet because the meeting was still going on in the next room. But, the "family" that was in the living room could hear the laughing and snorting going on in the the bedroom. This caused the "family" in the living room to get tickled also. Anyway, you have great talent and I can't wait to read your book... you are writing one, aren't you. Love ya, Karen