I hope you'll bear with me as I share another long, non-smoking related post. I will caveat the beginning of this with, lung cancer sucks. Quit smoking, find your reason why or it won't stick. Quit for you and stay strong.
One of the things talked about in memory of Dad yesterday was how much of a prankster he was. I knew this first hand.
When I was little, probably around 8, I was at my Grandmother's house for dinner. I'd been outside playing, probably in the dirt with a spoon cuz why not? Dinner was a relaxed affair so I wasn't inside when it was being cooked and just came inside when I got hungry.
When I went in, Dad told me he had deer meat and did I want some? I didn't ask what kind, jerky, stew, roast, steak; it didn't matter. I love deer meat so much I'll take it any way I can get it. I was never a hunter, I just always reaped the rewards of my father's efforts. I remember at around 4 or 5 selling the opportunity to neighborhood kids on Fort Campbell to come see the hanging deer for $1 a peek; I think dad was impressed by my entrepreneurial spirit as much as he was creeped out by a tiny tow headed girl inviting people over to see a dead deer.
I digress. I was so excited by the chance at deer meat that I ran over for a bite without looking at what was on his plate. He already had a piece ready on the fork and I enthusiastically chomped down. I'd pay good money today to see how my face instantly changed. I immediately ran to the garbage spitting it out, gagging, yelling Daddy! Don't eat it! The meats spoiled!!
If you knew Dad you'd know at this point he's so tickled his whole body is shaking with laughter, his heads down, probably hand on his chest. He looked up at me with tears of mirth in his eye, wiping them with his signature back pocket handkerchief and choked out, no baby, the meats not spoiled, THAT'S CATFISH!
I freaking hate seafood. Unless its $50 a plate Chilean Sea Bass from Ruth's Chris, don't bring that crap anywhere near my face.
Like raisin cookies masquerading as chocolate chip, my trust issues began at this tender age.
I joke. My dad inspired the kind of love and loyalty that would decades later move my husband to take my maiden name. It is fun at gatherings with people that knew Dad, knew he had a daughter, and know her husband's last name is the family name and explain that: yes, this is KY, but no, I did not marry my brother. He took our name.
I still remember the day we told him. He looked at us in happy disbelief and immediately teared up. He's always considered Trent a third son. As far as I can recall, through my whole life, that was something else Dad was never stingy with. His tears. He was one of the most masculine men I've ever known and the paragon of what's considered manly, but unlike the stereotype he never hid his emotions. I loved taking the time to pick out father's day cards that had something relevant to us written on it because I knew he felt that love and would always show us. He missed my MBA graduation in May but when I showed up to the hospital in full cap and gown with the degree he cried. And it didn't make me feel good to know that the missing of that graduation made him cry, but it did make me feel good that I, and my accomplishments, meant so much to him.
I'll end this here because I could go on about him forever. I couldn't say these things yesterday because there's no way I would have made it through. I don't regret it though because I know he knew how much I loved him. I'll always have that for the rest of my life, the comfort of knowing that I was so loved and that even though I'm not religious, in my darkest moments, I can still feel him with us. I know he's watching over us and like his long stride when I was a child, he's patiently waiting on the rest of us to join him.
I love you Dad. Always have, still do, always will.