Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tribute to my dad

No bones about it: I am a Daddy's girl. Now, I'm not the girl who thinks my dad can do zero wrong. But I love him to death and admire him more than I can ever say.

The other morning, I was listening to a local sports-talk show and the host was asking his listeners to call in and tell how their dad played a role in their love of sports. If I'd had the time, I would so have been on the line......

Picture this: it's the early 1970s. My dad is in his late 20s, but already on the hamster wheel of life. He's working a full-time job and going to community college full-time too. He has a wife, daughter, and disabled mother-in-law to support, and going to college is going to at least give him a shot to do a little more. Sundays are truly a day of rest for him, so Saturday is the only opportunity he has to do all those things that don't get done during the week: lawn mowing, car repair, home improvements, you name it.......

He comes in at lunch from whatever chore is being done for a quick bite and just a little rest in front of the TV. And there's his little girl, sitting right next to him. She's a little different from other kids - shorter, chubbier, loves reading more than anything else, but she's got on NBC's Game of the Week with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek. And hey - the Reds are playing! So he takes a few extra minutes to watch an inning or two with her, explain a few of the basic rules, etc. And come fall, instead of Saturdays, he'll do it on Sundays with the NFL -- watch the game, explain some of the basic rules, because doggone it, those Steelers are great!

That, dear friends, is how I became a huge sports fan. Couldn't play them to save my life because of the chubbies and the klutzies, but I love watching the game. And to this day, I still watch NFL, MLB, college baseball, college football.... heck, I'll watch a Little League team from Taiwan play (just like the 70s, huh?). All because my dad took a few minutes each weekend to sit with me and show me how it worked. Yes, he had a million things to do. He could have easily said, "I don't have time for that." But he didn't.

My dad showed me the value of hard work, stressed to me the importance of a good education. Reading bored/bores him to tears (and sleep) but he always encouraged me to read if I truly enjoyed it. Math was his strong suit -- the man didn't graduate high school, but he has an associate's degree and could do algebra and trig in his sleep at one point. In 8th grade, when I was struggling with some algebraic concepts, he got out his old college math books, even his GED prep books and showed me a different way of looking at the same equation. He's in his late 60s and still working .....

I am very much like him. I work too hard, play too hard, we both play catcher when asked, we've both had concussions that still make us go "whoa" on rare occasions. We have our differences: he's older and more conservative, I'm younger and still believe in the ideals of my youth, even if they've been tempered by time and practicality. And there are a few other things on which we will not be seeing eye-to-eye.

But I have the world's best daddy. Sorry to everyone else who thinks their dad has that title, but no. Mine. Mine, mine, mine! I only halfway joke that I am still single in my 40s because I have not found the man who treats me anywhere nearly as well as my daddy does.

Mechanic, plumber, builder, sounding board, listening ear, reality check ..... Daddy.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

There IS a difference!

I had an "oh my (clutch my pearls)" moment in the grocery store this afternoon.

Now, I do not presume to be Southern royalty or anything of the sort. I am a small-town girl, raised by hard-working people from hard-working families. I do not think for one second that I will be thought of any differently. For years, I was not comfortable enough in my own skin to really appreciate where I came from, but now I appreciate it. And while we were not materially rich or had much influence, we did have manners and we were raised right....

Truvy: "Well, I haven't left the house without Lycra on these thighs since I was 14!"
Clairee: "*You* were brought up right!"

So, I was in our local grocery store today and turned onto the breakfast foods aisle when I heard a conversation between a girl, maybe 25 at the oldest, and her "mommer" ..... "Yeah, hang on... (loud yell: "BRIAN, get back here, I ain't done with that!") ... well, he's taken the frickin' buggy an' I got all this (effin') shopping to do and... (loud yell: "I said, bring that g---d----- buggy back, y'all!) and I ain't got time to put up with this shit."

I clutched the pearls. And immediately made my way to the organic cereal (which is where I was heading anyway)..... I felt the need to distance myself from such shenanigans as much as possible, and since Miss Whiskey Tango 2011 isn't the granola kind......

Now, to be perfectly forthright, yes, I fuss with my family at times. But I do it between clenched teeth, in a very low tone, and certainly not in a display so public! And I also guarantee you that had I said such phraseology on the phone in a public place to my mother, she would have materialized through the phone, and given me the beating I deserved.

Several years ago, there was a great little book written by Dr. David Cannon named Hey Bubba: A Metaphysical Guide to the Good Ol' Boy. And in it, he notes that there is a vast difference between Good Ol' Boys and Rednecks, basically lumping Rednecks as WT.

Yes, folks, there really is a difference.

Good Ol' Boys (and Girls) have good hearts, mean no harm, would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, love their moms, their dads, their dogs, and most people. They are truly salt of the earth, no matter if their pockets are empty or they're sitting on a gold mine. Whenever you hear the phrase "good people" .... well, a Gobbie might just come to mind. Gobbies aren't the type to always put everyone ahead of themselves, but they are aware that others' rights begin where theirs end, and are respectful of that.

Rednecks/WT's..... no. There's a difference. I'd even say that Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" may not be a redneck as much as a Good Ol' Girl. Rednecks, to use Dr. Cannon's phrase, are "reptilian." No one matters but them and theirs... but if you get in their way, then you're dead meat too.

And then there are idiots. But that's another post for another time.