I don’t write much about current events in my blog. That’s not necessarily on purpose, it just works out that way most of the time. However, with Father’s Day in a few days, I felt it was time to be timely.
World’s Greatest Dad
Sharp Dressed Man
My father was a salesman, so suits and ties were his work uniforms. One of his favorite places to shop was Lourie’s in the old Dutch Square Mall in Columbia, back when Cromer’s P-Nuts had their monkeys. We did not live in Columbia, though, so this meant usually stopping during football seasons on our trips to watch South Carolina football. Dad didn’t overspend on his suits but he did like to buy quality and make it last.
Unfortunately, this also meant excruciating visits to Lourie’s while he decided on his purchases. Since I was young, maybe these were quicker stopovers than I remember, but they seemed like hours. The monkeys could only entertain you for so long.
When I needed the right tie for a job interview at age 51, where did I go? You guessed it. He even offered to take me clothes shopping, but I didn’t have enough time.
Glass And Gas
My childhood home at 206 Ravensworth Road was the multi-purpose sports complex of Brook Glenn Gardens, in Taylors, South Carolina. We had front and backyard whiffle ball fields, a fabulous basketball court, which was almost a legit half court, and a power line that served as the crossbar of a field goal. We also used Tim’s yard next door as a football field due to its long rectangular shape. The end zone was the driveway, which discouraged diving catches.
Our ball playing meant our windows and most of the neighbors’ windows were not safe from flying objects. I’m pretty sure dad was on a first-name basis with the glass repairman on Main Street, Taylors. Also, by the time I was in my teens, I was mowing several of the neighbors’ lawns to make some extra money. Somehow, the gas can was always full and the glass bill was always paid and my wallet never took a hit.
Ginger and Rocky
My grandfather Lefty had some hair-brained ideas in his time. Maybe that’s where I inherited it from. One of these ideas was to breed a chow and a Rottweiler. Against his better judgment, Dad caved to the relentless begging of two sons who wanted a puppy. We named her Ginger, after her reddish color. She was the size of a chow, but had the shorter hair of a Rottweiler. She also had the black tongue trait of the chow. Ginger was strong as an ox and didn’t like other dogs or the garbagemen.
Fortunately, she never escaped the fence to attack the garbage men, despite valiant efforts. Ginger eventually had to go, and somehow Dad forgot how bad it was having a dog. We later convinced him to let us bring home a beagle puppy. We named him Rocky.
Promises made by his sons about pitching in to care for the dogs never really materialized, so Dad took care of the dogs through rain and cold. I think about this every time I’ve had to deal with one of our canines in bad weather or when cleaning the carpet because of a bad dog. Karma does have a sense of humor.
Finally, in case you didn’t know, sports were a huge part of my life growing up. My best guestimates are, between 1973 and 1986, my athletic “careers” had this many events:
- 80+ Church league basketball games
- 75+ High school basketball games
- 15ish Youth football games
- 10 High school football games
- 150+ Little League baseball games
- 80+ High school baseball games
- 40+ American Legion baseball games
For many of these, especially in the early years, I didn’t play much beyond the bare minimum requirements. Didn’t matter, though. Dad was always there. For these 450-ish games, I remember Dad being at all but one. That one happened to be the game where I hit my only high school home run, but it was at Woodmont, the middle of nowhere at the time, so all’s forgiven.
Dad probably did miss more than one game, especially if he and mom were juggling one of my games and one of my brother’s. The point is, though, Dad has always been my biggest cheerleader, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad, aka Harold, aka Gene, aka Butterbean, aka Papa, and what the heck, for 6/21/2020, aka World’s Greatest Dad!
Thanks for reading,
PS – This week’s writing stats:
Current writing streak: 24 days
Fiction words this week: ~4,200. A little short of the goal, but I’m happy with it given some challenges that arose this week.