Friday, December 20, 2013

Fired up!

There’s been a lot of going back and forth on recent events surrounding comments made by a reality TV star. This is my take on it…which, as everyone is so quick to point out, I have a right to express. What a wonderful nation we live in!

I look at it this way. Replace the words he actually said with different, but similar in that they are based on someone’s opinion. Mick. Guido. Chink. The N-Word. Cracker. Jew. Feel differently now?

Maybe those are too harsh. Let’s try these instead. Stupid. Fat. Ugly. Queer. Slut. Retard. Now are you a little outraged? I was, and I still am. I don’t believe the debate is about freedom of speech, as so many are quick to point out. It’s about human decency. It’s about having an opinion, but doing so respectfully. We have policies in our workplace that prevent bullying. We stand up for a our children when they are called names. We try to instill in them respect for others and hopefully discipline them when they are unkind to others.

For those of you who think who cares what one hillbilly from the South says?? Try this: Duck Dynasty has 14 million viewers. GQ has almost a million subscribers. Add the millions of viewers that have seen the story on the news, countless more who saw it on social media, the subscribers to online newspapers and magazines and you start to see the scope and impact that his negative words have.

Was A & E out of line in suspending him? In my opinion, which I will again reiterate, I am allowed to have, no. We are living in a society that criticizes people for differences. For A & E to allow him to remain on TV after his disparaging remarks would have said to the public that it’s okay to be hateful. Is he allowed to his opinion and beliefs? He sure is. I don’t condone the way he went about expressing it. We all have human will and the blessing of Freedom of Speech, which ensures we can express an opinion. But it doesn’t give us the right to be hateful assholes.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A pint low!

Today not only marks Spirit Day and the fight to end bullying, but my first foray into donating blood. Normally, this wouldn’t be blog worthy, but as I do with most normal things, I turned this into the Thursday fiasco. I apologize for any misspellings and missing words…I’m still feeling a bit woozy.

I coerced the girl that works for me into joining me…we’re still not back on speaking terms. I started off by pulling the poor young man that was checking us in into a five minute conversation around our perfect stripper names. Mine is Citron or Juicy or something like that, Susan’s is Angel Bayard and Brad, God love him, chose Candy. I think that is a whole other blog.

Next, I tortured the poor women testing my hemoglobin to make sure my blood was healthy enough to donate. I told her I was a good bleeder, as my many attempts at free running produced better than average results.

Finally, I made it to the chair, well, the first one anyway. I told him it was my first time, so go easy. He told me it was his fourth time and they stopped and picked him up under the freeway on the way there. Funny guy! He wrapped my arm and checked for a good vein. Fail. I swapped chairs and gave the left arm a try. Also a fail. So he tried a blood pressure cuff to amp up the pressure. Finally, he called his supervisor over and said he didn’t like it, didn’t like the way my veins ran. How they ran? What possible way could they run besides straight down my arm? I told him to just go ahead and say it, I’m weird. Then I cracked a stripper joke to ease the tension. Something about veins shifting from using my arms to hang upside down so much.
They finally got me flowing and all was well. I was ten minutes behind Angel and I was intent on showing them just how good a bleeder I am. Three minutes later, my bag was halfway full.  Another hree minutes and I was done. They got me bagged and tagged and then the nausea set it. Apparently, they are super worried about first-timers. They gave me my token 8 oz lemon-lime soda, a red plastic bag, and told me there would be an incident report. Of course there will be. Why not!

When I finally felt better, they led me out of the chair and told me to tend to “my friend”. Apparently, despite many trips to the blood bank, she fainted, fell out of the chair and was now lying on the floor, yellower than the purse I was carrying. I sat down, offered encouraging feel-better comments like “You’re so yellow” and “I guess you won’t be working tonight”.

I found out that in addition to an incident report, they really don’t like to leave you alone. When the next wave of nausea came, I tried to sneak away to the bathroom, which was somewhat akin to trying to break out of prison. I was escorted to the bathroom, with apologies for invading my privacy, but “we just can’t have you passed out on the cold floor by yourself.” Finally, I felt almost whole and Angel was at least off the floor. We walked out with a shred of dignity, a bag of fruit snacks and a pretty darn good excuse not to work out.

We figured out all the wrong things to do, but as I looked at that pint of blood and heard that I may have just saved three lives, I felt pretty darn proud of us, fainting and all! And somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I think I remember listening to Fat Bottom Girls and telling them I felt fine because I was listening to big fat fatties. My apologies to Queen. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Almost Famous

If you haven’t had a chance to see Kiki Archer’s latest interview, you missed out on the opportunity to see her eat a worm. Yep, you read that write. She was dared to either twerk or eat a worm. She actually chewed up and swallowed a wasabi flavored worm and kept it down. Mad props to you, Kiki.

The vid got me thinking about the day hell freezes over and I score an interview. Chances are, it won’t take place on the finals course of American Ninja Warrior and my dare won’t be to navigate the Spider Wall with my mad parkour skills. Insert previous post about an injury to my leg from an attempt to parkour at a local park. All that aside, I know for me, worm-eating seemed to be the less pleasant of the two dares, so I set out to make myself a twerking expert.

First, I searched youtube for an educational video about the do’s and don’ts of twerking. I’d like to say for the record, it should be just the don’ts of twerking. I found one with a woman who certainly looked as though she would have mad twerking skills and I set about to follow her step-by-step instructions and turn myself into a dancing queen.

With important key phrases like “drop it like it’s hot”, “arch” and “thrust”, I knew I had found a gem. Phone in hand, loose jogging pants for freedom of movement and a willing spirit, I worked my hips in concentrated slow motion in time with my talented “teacher”. She taught me how to twerk both cheeks at the same time, twerk one at a time and the all-important side-to-side twerk. Magic was happening, I was becoming a twerking queen.

After learning each important, but disconnected step, she encouraged me to put on some fast music and put those moves together in a move that can only be described as someone having convulsions while standing up. But I ignored my saner side and continued on. I knew this was a social movement and I was a butterfly. With perfection in hand, I tested those moves on Sarah, even threw out my own “drop it like it’s hot.” In my eagerness to show off my newly acquired skill, I had neglected to realize the torque of my twerk and I propelled Sarah into the counter with all the finesse of a 300-lb sumo wrestler trying to win Dancing with the Stars. I had failed. More importantly, my mad dancing skills had failed.

I did apologize and even offered to kiss it and make it better. As I put my dancing shoes and stretchy “twerking” pants away, I realized, as did the daring Ms. Archer, that perhaps the lesser of the two evils really was the poor little worm. So like Wesley from The Princess Bride, I am building up my immunity to iocaine powder on the off chance I do receive an outrageous dare, because twerking will never, ever happen…again. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Mixture of Madness

“An apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.”
-          Letitia Elizabeth Landon

I wanted to say another thank you to the people that entered the Sin No More contest.  When I set out to give away copies of my new book, I wanted it to be a chance to get to know some of my readers and find out what their favorite moments were. I was delighted to see my favorite book on the list. What surprised me most were quotes that I hadn’t thought about. It was a pleasure to go back and see stories and characters through someone else’s eyes, learning what quotes resonated and stuck with the readers long after they finished the book.

One thing that I have been blessed with in my life is a plethora of wise friends who deliver a surplus of sound advice along with much needed support. Whether or not I listen to that advice depends on the scope of the situation surrounding it. What is for certain is that in most, if not all of my books, there is a sage secondary character who doles out life changing advice with ease and sometimes the sweetness of honey. It isn’t always the best advice, but it’s always with the best intentions.

Someone asked me if I would share my favorite books and quotes. It would take a while to do and I would probably bore you all in the process, so instead, here are a handful of my favorite lines.

My favorite book is Love’s Abiding Spirit, and Gay is perhaps my favorite character of all. She shows us just how easy it is to give advice when the situation isn’t about you. Much like a dear friend, whom she is patterned after, Gay is quick-witted, endearing and all together charming. She is sarcastic to a fault, affable and impossible not to like. Here are some of my favorite Gay quotes the ones that, for me, made the story memorable:

- “Honey, I reckon that’s like me saying I just want to lose a couple of pounds.”

- “Sure do. You don’t want your bush to outshine the house. And, darlin’, no one wants to get tangled up in overgrown bush.”

- “I figure we’re all responsible for our own actions. No one can make us do anything. In the end, no matter what anyone does to us, it’s the individual that chooses how they react to it.”

- “This aging lesbian’s opinion is about as useful as goose shit on a pump handle.”

- “Darlin’, if my cousin is not half way in love with you herself, I’m not Gay. And that’s a major feat in itself, considering that’s what my birth certificate and half of Savannah’s rec softball league say I am.”

- “Some of us are nesters and some of us like to rattle the cage. I’m a rattler. Plain and simple. Now don’t think that I’m not a romantic at heart though. I’m pulling for you two kids.”

- “Well screw it then. I forgot you were God… I reckon you must think you are with the harebrained crap that’s coming out of your mouth. Guess I forgot you can control everything and guarantee no one will get hurt. Pretty powerful credit you’re giving yourself. While you’re at it, would ya mind ending war and reversing the greenhouse effect?”

-“Course tryin’ to convince you of that’s like trying to boil corn in ice water.”

Sure, I like Carrie in Immediate Possession, she’s like my mom away from home, Tess in Secrets of the Heart will always remind me of my older sister and how could I not adore Carmen in Twist of Fate, but Gay will always be closest to my heart, mostly because she makes my friend seem a little closer and probably a little because she wouldn’t let me get away with stupid stuff. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Don't Want to Grow Up

One of the things I valued as a child was my innocence.  At four years old, I wished I could be a man so I could marry a woman, because I didn’t know any other way than what I saw around me. I saw my parents and just figured that I had to be a boy to marry a girl. I wasn’t exposed to the words gay or lesbian or even knew that there was a word to describe the feelings or thoughts that I had. I only knew I liked girls.
In 1979, people didn’t get bullied or singled out for being gay or lesbian, at least not on my block. Rather for being poor, not as smart as someone else or because you weren’t great at kickball. We didn’t call people names like fag or homo or queer. We made up names like Dumb Dumb Head or Lame Brain. We didn’t have labels that specified if we were gay, lesbian, bi or transgender. We were just kids.

It’s so different now. I often feel bad for kids today because they aren’t innocent at four years old anymore. Changing times have exposed them to issues and problems that I couldn’t even fathom at that age. Media has created a frenzy around sexuality, fostering a negative atmosphere that targets our youth. It’s taught them to be afraid and to hate what is different. It creates problems that no child is prepared to deal with or should have to deal with.

At a time when the most pressing problem should be what Little League team did I make or how should I dress my Barbie today, society is forcing children to deal with adult size issues. I read an article recently about a five year old that took it upon herself to stand up against the hate mongering Westboro Baptist Church. The response from the church was to call her a Satanic Liar. While I applaud that strong girl, I am sad that at five, she has to see the hate that is bred by adults and the reason why.
Another article today mentioned a six year old transgender girl who had to go to court to win the right to use the girl’s bathroom in school. It breaks my heart that society has fostered such a deep-seated hatred and intolerance, that this poor girl, through no fault of her own, has to fight to be treated equally. She shouldn’t have to face that fight or be told that she is different. She should get to be a kid and experience all the things that come with growing up without carrying with her the feeling of being different.

Our youth should not have to be exposed to or stand up to intolerance or fear retribution from adults who blindly continue to dole out narrow-minded judgment based on ignorance and hate. The very people that grew up sharing the sandbox have forgotten the most basic principle that lies at the core of humanity, to just be a decent human being. That idea has been twisted and manipulated so much so that a large part of our population now believe and teach that that same sandbox isn’t good enough for everyone, and all to the detriment of our children.

The innocence, the naivety is gone.  Our children have been exposed to the ugliness that surrounds us. When I look at my nieces and nephews, I pray that they aren’t gay because I don’t want them to have to deal with the hate. But most of all, I pray that the innocence lasts a while longer.  I want them to look at Sarah and I with innocent eyes and not those jaded by society. When they do figure our relationship out, I want them to know that being gay or lesbian, bi or transgender is as normal as my brown eyes. I want their worries to be about grades and batting averages, not that their favorite aunts are lesbian and someone said that was a bad thing.

It isn’t about not letting them know what is really in the world, it’s about letting them grow up at their own pace, finding out and facing adult issues when they are adults and have the knowledge to do so. It’s about letting a six year who may have been born with different parts just be a six year old and not be told she can’t use a girl’s restroom. It’s about letting our kids get to the age where they can responsibly choose the fight that they want to be in and not forcing it on them. It’s about teaching them that no matter the differences between people, we are all just humans and we all deserve to play in the sandbox. It’s about letting them just be kids and not taking away the few years of innocence they have. They will grow up soon enough.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Please pass the Kleenex!

By now, some of you know that I’ve included a little extra at the end of Someone Like You…several of the recipes from Lex and Aspen’s kitchen. What you won’t see, much to my chagrin; is their playlist. A last minute decision to pull it from the book to avoid any kind of legal trouble meant I couldn’t share the music that played in the back of my mind as Lex and Aspen’s story played out on the pages.

One thing that some of my friends know about me is I am a softie. I will tear up at a Budweiser commercial and cry like a baby during movies like Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes, no matter how many times I’ve seen them. Yes, the content gets to me, but more so the music. I love to hear a song and feel it move through my soul, evoking raw emotions. Without the music, the words wouldn’t move me quite as much. I love the perfect song. I could watch a scene with only the music and the tune would touch me just the same, or just listen to a song that played in a favorite movie and feel the familiar tug.

With that in mind, I’m sharing the songs that played for me as I stood invisible in a far corner and watched Lex and Aspen ache. I am sure you will put your own in there as well, but here’s my humble start. I hope you find the song that moves your soul.

Lex and Aspen’s Soundtrack
“It Was” – Chely Wright
“Beneath Your Beautiful” – Labrinth ft. Emeli Sande
“Can’t Stop” – Mozella
“The Story” – Brandi Carlile
“Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star
“Just A Fool” – Christina Aguilera ft Blake Shelton
“Answer” – Sarah McLachlan
“Dreamer” – Uh Huh Her
“First to Fall” – Laura Shay
“Taken” – Plumb
“Sometimes Love Ain’t Enough” – Heart
“Where I Stood” – Missy Higgins
“Ain’t No Sunshine” – Daryl Hall with Finger Eleven
“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome” – Bob Dylan
“Everytime You Go Away” – Paul Young
 “I Try” – Macy Gray
“I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz
“When the Stars Go Blue” – Tim McGraw
“A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri
“Here With Me” – Dido
“Hold Onto Hope Love” – Amy Stroup
“Between the Raindrops” – Lifehouse ft Natasha Bedingfield
“In Your Eyes” – Peter Gabriel

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

When fellow author Penelope Grey asked if she could tag me, my first response was Honey, I’m married and I don’t think the wife would appreciate that very much. She insisted it was all in clean fun. She was super excited about the opportunity to be a part of something that encompasses authors of different genres, but with one goal…writing great lesbian pieces. Hence, The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Check out her blog posting.

Here’s how it works:  It’s kind of like a chain letter with interview questions. Once I’ve been tagged by an author, I’m supposed to find another five authors that agree to be tagged. I came up a tad short and want to say a special thanks to Chris Paynter for giving me the honor of tagging her. There will be more about her novels and blog below.
I’m talking about my new novel for the first time. I’m super excited to get this one finished up. The story has been a work in progress and I’m ready to let these characters fly.
Questions & Answers:
1. What is the working title of your book?
The title is Someone Like You.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I read an article about couples not divorcing because they couldn’t afford to and managing to keep it amicable. I started thinking what if you had to move back in with an ex for financial reasons or something else. Would the love be rekindled?? If it wasn’t, could two people work around that and stay friends?
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Lesbian romance. All of mine do with the exception of The Killing Ground, which is a mystery/thriller.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I love this question. I always pick someone to play my characters. That way as I’m writing and watching scenes unfolding in my head, I can actually picture faces and how they speak and move and interact. Plus, it makes the love scenes so much more enjoyable.
Lex:                 Tonia Sotiropoulou – she is Greek and has that very distinct dark coloring
Aspen:            Nadia Bjorlin – Aspen has these ice blue eyes and Nadia’s are perfect
Cass:               Kate Hudson
Ginny:             Diane Keaton
Susan:             Jane Fonda
5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Ex-lovers thrown back together after five years to dissolve their marriage try to ignore the feelings that never went away.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book will be self-published under Syd Parker Books.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first half I finished in about a month, the second half I left and came back to more than once over the last year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t have one in mind, though I can’t think of one that has delved into this subject, at least from this angle. Although, there are a lot of very talented authors and sadly, I don’t have time to read everyone.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think “the one love” and second chances inspired me. Sarah has a saying, which I use in the book, “I believe in second chances, just not with me.” My thought is what if the love story you think is done really isn’t done. What happens when two lovers lose their way? Can they find their way back to each other? Does love ever get a second chance?
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Following the example of another author who put out a soundtrack to her novel, I’ve decided to do one for Someone Like You. The story is emotionally raw in places and as I was writing it, I would hear a song that made me think of Lex and Aspen. Also, per the request of a very good friend of mine, look for one more surprise to be included.  
That’s pretty much it other than to say that Someone Like You will be out in March.  Chris Paynter is the author of several novels, including the winner of the 2010 Reader’s Choice Award for Favorite Romance Book, Come Back to Me. She also penned Survived by Her Longtime Companion, Two for the Show and Playing for First. Check out her blog at:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How He Smelled of Tobacco and Peppermint

There has been a lot of feedback from Jodie Foster’s Golden Globe speech. Did she come out? Is she retiring? All debatable points, but the one thing that touched me, actually made me tear up, was the moment she told her mother, who is suffering from dementia that she loved her. Three times, so the woman lost behind those blue eyes might possibly hear her and remember it. I know all too well the feeling of looking into someone’s eyes, praying this will be the day they recognize me and instead I am greeted with eyes that stare straight through me.
I don’t remember the first time I saw my granddad, but what I do have are snapshots in my head of all the wonderful times I spent with him. After we moved back to Indiana from California, my dad was on the road a lot, so my granddad became a father figure of sorts. I even picked up calling him Dad and did so for years. My granddad owned his own homebuilding business. To this day, I can remember running in to see him in his messy office, spinning in his chair, looking at blueprints and smelling his pipe tobacco. I still love that smell. He taught me to climb trees, swish a basketball and hammer a pretty straight nail. I visited him on job sites and scaled the framed out homes long before there were walls to keep me out. He loved to fish, and he shared that with us.
I remember at four years old climbing up onto the bumper of his truck and telling him to use baking soda to clean the battery posts to “fix” it. We asked him for crazy pills every time we visited, which were actually gum drops. We drank soda from adult cups and sat on the top of the refrigerator and waved at him from our perch. Before Christmas (my Pre-JW days), we would all pile into our cars and follow him to the boonies to find and cut down a Christmas tree. We played basketball with trampolines under the net and he soothed our wounds when we fell off. He took us up in the attic of the garage and showed us a treasure trove of goodies. Looking back, it was all just things in storage, but it’s the reason I love to antique because it reminds me of him.
A recent comment got me to thinking about the year that we watched my San Francisco 49ers play his Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl. I remember actually orchestrating it so I could watch the game with my granddad. I bet him a Big Mac that we would win. It was a small wager, but to a child it was the world, especially when I won. I never collected that bet and sadly, it’s too late now. We are probably even though, because he lent me a foldable measuring stick about thirty years ago and I broke it and never replaced it.
My granddad was a very proud and independent man. Years ago, when the homebuilding market stepped away from the traditional custom home to a more popular and inexpensive cookie cutter model, my grandfather refused to stop treating each person and home as an individual. In the end, it cost him his business and his home. When I was 16, he and my grandmother lost their house to foreclosure. We didn’t find out until days before it was final and all we could do was pack as much of their life into boxes and cart it away. I met the woman who bought the house at auction years later and it had sold for a paltry sum compared to its value. I silently hoped that her kids loved it like we did, stood on the 2nd floor and tossed things down the laundry chute to the basement, swung on the porch swing so hard they almost tipped it over, made imaginary calls on the antique phone or slid down the stairs on their stomachs.
He and my grandmother moved into my uncle’s house, salvaging what possessions they could and my granddad, trying to salvage his pride. It was in those years that he developed Alzheimer’s. It wasn’t bad the first ten years but in those final years, he became angry and forgetful, so unlike the man I had once called dad. In the end, one of the few people that could still get through to him was my cousin. He would sit with my granddad for hours and talk to him about baseball and fishing and the kids. He could still break through the wall and get my granddad to laugh.
I remember getting the call that he had passed away. We were driving home for 4th of July weekend in 2010. I refused to break down, instead allowing myself small bursts of tears. Sarah finally insisted I pull over so she could drive. I think I cried the rest of the way home. At the visitation, we children gathered around and marveled at how unlike my granddad the man before looked. His “too busy to mess with a brush” hair had been cut and styled, his normally bushy eyebrows were trimmed to an acceptable length and his perpetually tanned skin was sallow. He seemed very lonely all decked out in a suit that wasn’t his and surrounded by nothing. So we scheming children, behind the backs of our aunts and uncle, outfitted him with a fishing pole and several pipes for the road, all discreetly tucked away for later.
I was never more proud of my cousin than when he walked up and messed up my granddad’s hair and tweaked his eyebrows. He walked away with the telltale family smirk and said that’s the way granddad would have wanted it. We spent the night of the funeral at my parent’s house…a reunion of the family he left behind, dancing to scratchy versions of “Brown Eyed Girl” and old Bob Dylan hits and singing into whatever utensil we could find. My grandmother, who has begun her own battle with dementia, was at times dancing alongside, forgetting why we were there and at other times, hiding her sad blue eyes. I brace for the day her eyes don’t see us. For now, I will enjoy her while I can.
Though my granddad may not have remembered those of us he left behind, there are a lot of people that remember what a good and kind man he was and that he always smelled of “tobacco and peppermint.”  
It may have seemed a small, random gesture to express her love to her mother three separate times and so emphatically, but I understand how she feels. For there comes a time when you can say it one time or a hundred times and it doesn’t matter. I applaud Jodie Foster for baring her soul, however brief it was.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bittersweet Symphony

To this day, I can’t hear the song “The Boxer” without thinking of my dad. The latest was a collaboration done by Emmylou Harris and Mumford and Sons that I had it on repeat as I drove into work this morning. Growing up, my dad introduced us to all kinds of music, from Journey to Mozart and Handel. I can still remember sitting in the seat of his semi listening to “Faithfully” and not realizing at the time how fitting the words were in our situation. As a truck driver, he was on the road all the time and when he was home, he drank enough to be “cool” and played the role of father, never giving us a look at who he really was. By the time I moved out, I knew my dad loved music and was a Red Sox fan and still had an East Coast accent that would keep up with anyone from Boston.
It wasn’t until he had a stroke five years ago, that my dad became a family man. He was always good at taking care of us before, but I never knew anything about him other than the person he let us see. I didn’t know his past other than he was born in Holland during the war and immigrated to New Hampshire and didn’t learn to speak English till he was ten years old. I remember driving to Florida for my grandmother’s funeral and on the way home he didn’t eat because there was only enough money left to feed my sister and me. What I didn’t know was he almost didn’t go to the funeral because his mom was never really a mother to him. She kicked him out on the street when he was 14 because she didn’t want him, or that after the state made her take him back, he hitchhiked cross country to catch the family when his mom and brother left him behind. He made it as far as Illinois before he stopped and got his first job as a driver with a gentleman that had picked him up along the way. He has worked every day since then.
Those are the sad memories, the ones that I can understand why he didn’t share. But along with those, he started to share the good ones too. When he was at the juvenile home, he got to serve the governor of New Hampshire at a state dinner. When he was younger, he worked with his dad making bread at his small restaurant. When he was 18, he bought his first convertible. He was airborne in the Army, dated a woman named Esperanza in Mexico. Wooed my mother in Sequoia National Park and started his own family. All bits and pieces of what made him the man I knew and I was finally getting to see that.
He changed with us too…in a wonderful way. He was no longer the cocky man I knew, who stayed just on the edges of our family. He was now involved, caring, devoted. He actually loved the kids, not just tolerated them. He has turned into this amazing dad who still loves music, but now he tells us about the first time he heard a song or why it means so much to him.
I have a lot of memories of and with my dad, some happy, some painful. I have some resentment for growing up with an alcoholic father and the challenges that came with that, something I’m still working through. That aside, I have some wonderful memories of time spent with him. Being on the road with him and driving towards the Rockies for the first time, or driving through Utah at night and thinking the Salt Flats glowed in the dark, talking on the CB and making fun of other drivers. Things that make me smile when I remember them.
A lot of my memories have songs attached to them and when I hear that song it transports me back in time. But “The Boxer” and “Faithfully”, those songs encompass my dad. Those are the songs that evoke the most emotional response. I picked up a lot of things from my old man. I am sarcastic to a fault, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I cry at movies (yes, this from the King of Cool), I can bullshit all day long, I can’t carry a tune but I’ll belt out Journey with the best of them. I’ve always done those things, but now when I do them, I can look at my dad and know a little more about the man I got those traits from and know that whatever his faults, he’s trying to be the best dad he knows how to be.
I may not agree with a lot of the choices he made and I will probably always carry some hurt and pain from growing up the way I did, but now my head knows that there’s a reason he was broken and that a lot of his path was just him dealing with that the best way he could. I know he’s spent his whole life fighting the feelings of being unwanted and unloved and how much that messes someone up, especially a kid. I know, despite everything, my dad loves us and no matter what happens, “the fighter still remains.”