Not that he needed any, he was a fine man and a great father in all our eyes. But after raising 8 girls and one son he was more than a little clever when it came to working his way around children of any age. I just had a discussion today with my sister Margaret who reminded me that the story of Dad combing his hair with a brush roller for my oldest sister Maureen’s wedding was a little inaccurate, according to her source Kate, it had been a fork that that poor soul had to settle for. But he was unstoppable, the wedding would go on and be fabulous! Even I can clearly remember when asked by the priest “Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man?” My Father responded loudly and clearly “Her Mother and I do!”.
What a great guy, and as you can see looking pretty spiffy for a rascal that started the day in a house aflurry with bridesmaids, the bride and all sorts of hoopla that fateful morning. Yet he managed to stay out of the fray without complaint and combed his hair and get out the door without a peep and get his beloved first daughter off to a splendid start in a blessed marriage.
While Margaret and I talked and laughed over the trials of having so many daughters the subject of Combs came up. Do you remember, she inquired- that time Dad drilled a hole into the shelf below his little medicine cabinet in the basement and attached a chain and drilled a hole in a hard black plastic comb so that all his worries would be over and the daily morning search for a comb could be avoided? Do you remember his bemused face as the basement door opened the following day and there he stood, hair askew forlornly holding an empty chain because some lout ( read teenage daughter) had ripped his comb from the chain?
On another occasion I can remember his acting in self-defense of his favorite food, Ice Cream. Now Daddy was born and raised to share everything, so I don’t think that man ever sat down to a dish of Ice Cream with having offered it first to anybody passing by. That was the way he was raised. We on the other hand never turned down a good thing, ergo his Ice Cream intake was severely limited to daylight hours when we were at school and he could sneak home for lunch from his last job as manager of a small delivery service. And when even this failed because we would stop by and visit during lunch he developed a taste for Black
Walnut Ice Cream. I can still remember opening the freezer and scowling and looking at Dad and saying, “How can you eat this stuff?!” and he just chuckled and said, “because I know it’ll always be waiting for me.” and that being said, he explained a very important life lesson to me. Choose carefully what you want, develop a taste for things other can’t or won’t appreciate and you can make yourself pretty happy in this life if only by watching others turn up their noses at the very things you’ve chosen to like. Self defense among children. He didn’t quite put it the way my Mom had, “Never be afraid of your own children, they can smell fear.” His motto was more like, “Choose to make your world someplace you want to be and enjoy it.” Black Walnut Ice Cream, Chicken Livers and all.
You know now it finally occurs to me that he could clear that house in ten minutes without a word. He would be totally left alone to do as his heart desired (usually read or God forbid watch football with no interruptions) by cooking his favorite, Chicken Livers and Onions…eewwwwww…that smell alone guaranteed him at least a half hour free time. And I just fingured it out. I’m 54 so that gives you a clue as to how canny the guy was. You wouldn’t even come close when he cooked them because he always offered them and you felt bad saying no, because he did like them so so much.
What a guy….used his childrens own sense of smell to control them, and he still makes me laugh just thinking about it.
Have a great day you guys and if your little ones or adolescents tick you off and you need a little down time don’t yell… start cooking!!!