Sundays with Dad

Posted: May 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Daddio, Holidays, Little Rhody, Writing | 9 Comments »

I’m taking a writing class on Tuesday nights. I care that much about improving the quality of the crap you read here.

We do a half-hour writing exercise at every class. This always kind of annoys me because I figure we can just write at home. But then if I end up liking what I write, I’m not annoyed any more because I can read it out loud to the other boys and girls. And I like attention.

Last week we analyzed an essay about cooking, that turned out to be a big metaphor for sex. For our in-class work, the teacher asked us to write about something we know a lot about. It could be about anything—playing tennis, fixing a carburetor, painting your toenails.

There’s an attractive woman in my class with a really skinny butt, who I was shocked to hear has a daughter in her twenties. After I read my piece last week she said, “Okay, so with that one?” then pressed her index finger into the table, “Post to blog.”

So I decided I would. Because I always listen to women whose asses are smaller than mine. And because I had nothing else to post today.

I thought of saving this to run on Father’s Day, but for me growing up, every Sunday was Father’s Day.

So here’s to you, Daddio. I love you madly, and expect you to share this with everyone at your Rotary Club. You know I like all the extra traffic I can get.

And happy weekend to the rest of you. I’ll be camping with my daughter’s school. (Plenty of blog fodder to come out of that, no doubt.)

See you back here next week. xoxox

* * *

Sundays with Dad

When your parents get divorced when you’re a kid you play lots of miniature golf. And eat lots of soft-serve ice cream, and get to order soda out at restaurants, and sometimes even see movies that are PG-rated when you’re really only allowed to see the G ones.

This, at least, was my experience on my Sundays with Dad.

But mini golf wasn’t always the plan. Some days we’d get a wild hair to go further afield from our little hometown. We’d wander down rural routes to flea markets, or make the hour-long drive to Faneuil Hall in Boston in his tiny Mercedes, which he pronounced MER-sid-eez and insisted was the correct pronunciation.

That car was an extension of Dad himself—a luxury, an indulgence. Something my Mom—who I lived with and who set the rules, doled out the punishments and certainly never even ate at restaurants forget allowed me to have soda—something that she, who drove an old beater Volvo, would roll her eyes and say, “That car.”

On Sundays at 10:30AM when he’d pick me up, Dad would pull “that car” into our big semi-circular driveway and beep the horn for me to come out. This was divorce East Coast style. He and mom never talked, and avoided contact at all costs. Every weekend he’d beep, and every weekend Mom would say, “Does he HAVE to beep that damn horn? Can you please tell him not to do that?”

And every time I’d forget, because by the time I got out to the car and climbed in and slammed the door, I was transported into the special world of Dad. My mind was already racing about where we’d be going, what we’d get to do. Mom and her requests were a million miles away.

And on the drive to wherever it was we went, we’d talk and talk and talk. Dad talked to me like a grown-up. He got excited by my ideas, what I was learning about in school. He’d add new thoughts, challenge me. Share stories that seemed like the kinds of things I imagined he talked to other grown-ups about.

“Do you know what really happened when that volcano erupted in Pompeii?” he’d ask.

Or, “The president has really painted himself into a corner this time…”

We’d talk about travel, or geography, or politics. Or I’d hear some story about when he was a kid and how his mother saved some choking dog that everyone else thought was rabid.

And sometimes he indulged the kid in me. On the country road to Newport he’d suddenly declare, “Okay, I’ll close my eyes and you tell me where to drive.” He kept his left eye open, I assume—the one I couldn’t see from my passenger-seat vantage point. And even though I think I knew that then, I’d still try to pretend I thought both his eyes were shut. I’d howl and cry out, “Slow down! Wait—we’re veering into the other lane!” Or, “Right turn–now! Now! NOW!”

When we’d get out of the car, he’d hold my hand, and we’d do the three squeezes thing. Do other people know this too, or was it our own special code? Three squeezes is the code that means ‘I love you.’ My husband does that now sometimes, but I think it must be because I told him about it from Dad.

On one of our Sundays together we saw the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Or maybe we saw them twice. (This spurned my epic pen pal relationship with Mishu, the Smallest Man in the World.) Dad was always getting tickets from clients to things that came into town, like random radio station events or the Harlem Globetrotters.

We even were invited to ride on a Goodyear Blimp once, though in that foolish didn’t-realize-what-I-was-passing-on way I decided I didn’t want to go. I remember I was nervous that there wouldn’t be a bathroom onboard.

To this day, when I see a blimp in the sky I laugh to myself wondering if there’s a toilet up there.


9 Comments on “Sundays with Dad”

  1. 1 FAB said at 4:50 am on May 18th, 2012:

    I have never read anyting so beautiful…..never! And I am just a bit more certain that I was a good dad..Sundays were not your days..they were also mine..I coulldn’t wait for them to come and hated to see them end, so quickly, it seemed. Thanks. I love you, If you were here there would be the best three squeezed hand that you ever felt!

  2. 2 Stacey said at 6:48 am on May 18th, 2012:

    I’m glad flat ass decided you should post this. It is charming. It’s obvious how two parents can mold children in special ways if you actually spend “time” with them. That’s what I got from this. I want the Mishu story later and I’ll tell about my blimp story in PM sometime. Loved it!

  3. 3 Jeff P said at 8:00 am on May 18th, 2012:

    three cheers for skinny butt!! love this post. Makes me want to go on an adventure with my daughter.

  4. 4 becca bryant said at 10:20 am on May 18th, 2012:

    So this made me cry and brought tears to my eye at the same time. It took me back to my childhood. Even though my parents never divorced I was such a daddy’s girl. He always bought me things, let me have animals (after my mom said no), and loved me unconditionally. I lost him three years ago after helping take care of him for almost 10 years. He had 9 heart attacks and the first 8 did not keep him down….however the last one took his life. I miss him so much every single day. Thanks for writing this!!!!

  5. 5 kristen from motherload said at 10:36 am on May 18th, 2012:


    Let’s just say what Mishu and I had was a beautiful–if short-lived (pun intended). Once he hooked up with the Shortest Woman in the World all bets were off.

    And what is PM, where I’ll get to hear your blimp story?

  6. 6 kristen from motherload said at 10:37 am on May 18th, 2012:

    Oh Becca, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Sounds like your dad was a fighter! I am mom-less, and so I know how those things go. Hugs to you!

  7. 7 kristen from motherload said at 10:40 am on May 18th, 2012:

    Jeff: Leave work RIGHT NOW and GO!!! It’s okay, I talked to your boss about it, it’s cool. Now turn this computer off! Time’s a wastin’.

  8. 8 Jeff P said at 11:48 am on May 18th, 2012:

    THANKS KRISTEN!!!!!!!!!! and i’m out…

  9. 9 Alexandra said at 10:39 pm on May 22nd, 2012:

    My father passed away when I was 6, but this post here? Made me feel like I had one for a little while.

    Thank you.

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