Friday, April 23, 2010

Cloud 8

As Dad and I approached the buffet at a Mother's Day brunch, he pointed at a little girl all decked out in lacy white tights.

"Y' know, Joan- they shed those in the spring."

Well into my teens and equipped with a fully-functioning adolescent attitude, I did my best to dismiss his comment as ignorant and inappropriate. Stifling the laughter swirling inside my chest, I moved along the steam table, filled my plate and walked past the corn chowder. I knew I'd never make it back to the table with both the thought of his remark and a bowl of soup intact.

What the teenager chose to ignore is what fills this adult with the warmth of humor. No doubt about it, my father was one funny son of a bitch.

His delivery was direct and dry. Governed by common sense, he made no apologies for uncompromising opinions or close-minded commentaries. "If someone has a problem with it, they can shit in their hat." I never understood how that would benefit either party, but it did put and end to more than one blossoming argument.

Dad's culinary tastes were basic; he rarely strayed from his comfort zone. The mention of garlic brought a curl to his lip and an exaggerated shiver to his spine. Although he generally stuck to his script when dining out, my mother might convince him to try something new once or twice a year. "Y'know- I like that French Onion soup with the Maserati cheese on top." His review may have been more Grand Prix than Food Network, but at least the old man gave it a shot.

My father had a low tolerance for upper-crust affectations and the putting on of airs. He had no interest in elevating his social standing or mixing with the society page crowd. "They think their shit's ice cream."

One scoop or two?

Fashion placed no pressure on Dad during his retirement years; the suited executive became the "regular guy" in a plaid shirt, tan pants and slip on loafers. No alligators, no pleats, none of those crazy "moon shoe" soles. Keep it simple, stupid, and top it off with a bucket-shaped "Go to Hell Hat". I have no idea where he came up with that one, but I'm sure you wouldn't find any shit in it.

He may not have shared my obsession with fitness, but he understood its' importance. "I saw on TV that Tina Turner takes pierogie classes." Proud Mary, keep on rollin' that dough and filling it with potatoes.

My mother loved Dad's description of the end of one his youthful romances. "She sent me a John Deere letter." What a pain in the grass.

When one of my father's employees received a promotion, he told us "He was so happy he was on Cloud 8". I joked and said, "Well, I guess he wasn't really THAT happy." Now I know better.

See you on Cloud 8.

Dad would have been 84 years old on April 17. He left behind a tired pair of loafers and a "Go to Hell" hatful of memories.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your dad!

  2. Joan,
    It is two scoops.

  3. I take it thats your dad's hat on gracie? my dad's got the very same one... but sadly, no "Go to Hell" hat.

    I know you had a good time writing this because I feel it. Instead of simply writing a funny story, you wrote a heart felt story while chuckling. And because of that, I'm chucking too :) really great Joan!

  4. Oh, I just LOVED this awesome tribute! I'm betting your dad would have, too! Thanks so much for sharing this colorful, fun man!

    I can certainly relate to your loving of your father's fun quotes. My Dad's saying, "Anything Fits a Naked Man," became the title of my blog, I loved it that much!!

    Thanks again for the smile, have a great weekend!!

  5. Sounds really familiar in some instances to my Fathers attitude and the, "Go shit in your hard hat" is still his favorite from his years as a electrician....Perhaps it is meant to reflect a "shit for brains" thought or idea. Good writing and great story about your Dad and family.

    John L

  6. Is that your father's hat? That is absolutely wonderful.

    I grew up without a father, but I always wanted and wished for one. You have my dream life.

    Thank you for commenting and stopping over at LOL. Have you submitted something there? When are you up?