Sunday, June 15, 2008

Props to My Pops

Okay, I know my posts haven't been all light-hearted and funny lately, don't mean to be a downer, just in a pensive mood I guess. Bear with me, after this Father's Day thing I'll lighten up. I feel like I need to do this, for my dads and for me. Probably more info than any of you need to know, so I won't be offended if you give up reading. It's a long post full of my ramblings. Blame it on the hormones and my 44th birthday (today), I guess.

I am one of those lucky kids that has 2 dads. Not lucky because of the divorce, but lucky because I have 2 dads that have offered me different kinds of support, both in very unique ways. Okay, what I am really saying is that this is my attempt to be positive about the situation I grew up in and honor my dads...roll with it, would ya?

My step-dad, John, is a unique person. He is the KING of Sarcasm. He is the kind of guy who can make a remark about you that is so cutting, yet at the same time so hysterically funny that you have to laugh, even though it's about you. He has nicknames for everybody... sometimes not very nice names, but funny nonetheless. He calls my kids Little Man and Big-Un. He's hard to get to know if you are related to him, he's kind of closed emotionally.

But growing up with him was an adventure. He liked to take us out and teach us how to target practice, so we learned how to use a gun. He used to take us out to these great places in New Mexico...old cemeteries and homesteads, where we would collect pottery and old bottles. He would heat up cans of Beenie Weenies in his truck engine while were driving so we always had lunch when we were exploring. When Pong and Atari came out he would challenge us to games and bet us $25 a game. I won like $100 one day. I lost half of it the next. He gave my sister and I $20 once (we were like 10 and 12 yrs old!) to go to Circle K to buy candy! Helloooo!!! Booyah!! What dad does that?! For a kid, even though he was hard to bond with, he could be a really fun person to hang out with.

He worked hard too. He trained Thoroughbred race horses, which is where I learned what I know about horses. He and his dad and my mom have quite a reputation in the business. I traveled the country for awhile grooming thoroughbreds at different tracks. I could get a job with anyone when I told them who my grandpa and step-dad are. I have him and my mom both to thank for those skills and love of horses.

He quit the track when he was 50ish, which is hard when it's all you've done your whole life. The racetrack is its own little world. It's hard to go out into the real world and function after living your life in that kind of a bubble. He should have been a coach. He loved football growing up. He has that no-nonsense "git in there and git 'er done" attitude about working out and sports. When he quit, he went and started a whole new career. At 50ish! He had to pass a physical and take numerous tests and he passed! The man hadn't been to school in 30 plus years, and with nothing but a high school diploma and the brains God gave him goes and starts a new career! I saw a strength of character in him then that I have come to admire and appreciate.

He's a wonderful story teller, hysterically mesmerizing with off the wall comments and experiences that no one can ever begin to match. It's like the old Dean Witter commercials...when John talks, everybody stops to listen. Because you know it will be one of the most unforgettable stories you have ever heard.

He's cynical and wise and funny and John Wayne. And TOUGH! He got into this fight one time with these 2 young kids. He was like, 40. They popped off to him and called him an old man. "You want some of this, Old Man?" Yeah...big mistake. They ended up fighting in a mud puddle. The 2nd kid figured out pretty fast that he was outmatched and stood by his car, watching the whole thing. When it was over, Step-dad had one kid by the nostrils..."Say your sorry to the old man, son." Son apologized, crawled out of the mud, walked to his car with his friend silently staring in disbelief and sped off into the sunset. Great story. True story. Either that or Step-dad fell in the puddle and needed to save face. Not likely though, I've seen him in action.

Watch the movie "The Cowboys." John Wayne in that movie IS my step-dad. Hard to get to know, but worth the effort.

My biological Dad, Wayne, is no longer here. Father's Day without him is hard, because he was truly my number one supporter and my greatest fan. He had his flaws, but none of them mattered to me because he was one of the few adults in my life who accepted me for me and didn't try to make me fit into their idea of who I should be. He wasn't always physically there for me like I wanted him to be. To be fair, now that I am an adult, I can see that it took him a long time to grow up. I can see that some of the issues my mom had with him were real and probably hard to deal with as a spouse. Still doesn't change my love for him. They weren't my issues, I guess.

He was this hilarious practical joker. He hot-wired a girl's car in high school so that when she tried to start the car it shocked her. He trapped his friend in the outhouse at work (construction site - he was like 45 at the time) by parking his truck against the door. Fun stuff. Anyway, you get the idea. He tried to enjoy his life. He was an avid outdoorsman, truly missed his calling. He should have been Park Ranger. He knew every inch of Arizona. He built the roads through half of the state. He was a great camp cook, he could make coffee in a paper bag on a campfire. He was a hard worker. He was a great boss. He was always helping someone.

He was great with people. People loved my Dad. He gave love freely, with no attachments. Even his ex-wives have great things to say about him (along with some not great things, but those are few). He rarely lost his temper. He accepted everyone where they were at, no judgement. For all of his flaws, he was a great dad. He encouraged me, he loved me, he accepted me and he apologized to me for not taking the time to be in my life like he should have been. And that spoke volumes to me about his true character, despite his flaws. When he finally realized he had messed up in certain areas with me, he took the time to try to rectify it.

He called me his diamond in the rough. To this day I can't understand what he saw in me that made him think I could do great things. But he never missed an opportunity to let me know that he knew I could achieve great things. Maybe one day I will. He left us before he knew his grandkids. That kills me. Because he would have been a fantastic Grandpa.

Two different men, two different personalities, both offered me things I hope to carry with me and use the rest of my life. For their love and support, their humor and examples, I thank them both. Happy Father's Day.

Wanna share your Dad stories? I would love to hear them!


Patricia said...

Feliz Cumplaños Geri! me alegro de haber entrado hoy en tu blog, así no he perdido la oportunidad de felicitarte.
Me he puesto al día con tus últimos posts. Me encanta como escribes y me encanta, sobre todo, tu honestidad y tu sentido del humor (DETESTO a los "mira que perfecta es mi vida", me dan arcadas). La vida es tal como tú la pintas, sí, me gusta tu paleta :-)

I am Boymom said...

Patricia -
Tenia que obtener ayuda de un traductor hoy. Perdon mi pereza. Te agradezco muchisimo para los commentarios positivos. Mis sentimientos parecen estar muy cerca de la superficie y últimamente por la razón que sea, me siento como que necesito para poner en palabras. Estoy agradecido por mis amigos del paciente que tome el tiempo para leer sobre donde estoy en la vida. Estoy de acuerdo, la vida no es perfecta y nunca he sido una de esas personas que aún intenta alcanzar la perfección. Cualquiera que me conoce sabe que tienen demasiados "problemas" para obtener más, de modo que pueda quedar la búsqueda de la perfección una completa pérdida de tiempo y energía. Yo también encontrar tu escrito honesto y refrescante, Patricia. Tengo que decir, eres una persona mucho más profunda de lo que yo pensaba y ha sido una deliciosa sorpresa de encontrar este lado de ti. Estamos parentela (kindred) espíritus, sí?

Patricia said...

Definitivamente si! espíritus afines
Por cierto, no sabes lo mucho que me gusta John Wayne, me encantan los viejos westerns. Efectivamente tu padrastro tiene la misma mirada que el viejo John. Wow!
Yo también he tenido "multiplicidad" de padres y madres, me siento "en casa" con tus comentarios. Sin embargo tú eres mucho más madura (y generosa) en tu análisis de las relaciones de lo que yo he conseguido ser por ahora.
Quizá el tiempo...

Kristi said...

Hold I on the right website, or have I stumbled upon the foreign channel? :) Love it! This was a really sweet posting. It is always interesting to look back on our fathers, and father "figures" growing up. My dad was great. He is the "ultra" postive type of guy, to the extreme. He was hard to get to know "emotionally" though. He was the type of guy that everyone loved. he would be the first to go shovel out the neighbors driveway with his snow plow. He spent endless hours serving others. Sometimes that was hard to take, I felt he did more for others than for his own family. Now that I am older, I see many good things in him. He taught me how to see the good things in life, which helps me SO much in being married to my quadriplegic husband. He taught me how to serve and help others (and I make sure to do it in my own family). We had fun water skiing and snow mobiling. That was our fun family time. And now that I am older I know about his upbringing, and realize that he did the best that he could. His parents died and he never once heard them tell him that they loved him. Wow...I know that I am loved. It has been an emotional day for me too. Lots of memories. (Also found out that our neighbors 13 year old son died in his sleep last night, it has been really emotional, and making me appreciate my family today). Phew..that was heavy stuff. by the way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Kristi said...

PS. My friend designed my blog header. I would have NO idea how to do something like that. Being creative and "crafty" is definitely not in my gene pool.

Bandanamom said...

Geri Hi!

I found your blog through a link on Rachel Echols blog. I hope all is really well with you guys. I think about you when I drive down Maryland!

I totally see why your dad thought you were a diamond in the rough. I think sometimes you can't see your own inner greatness!

Stop by my blog and say "Hi" if you want.

Love, Lezlee Hays (bandanamom)

I am Boymom said...

Kristi - You're dad sounds like a good man, like you said, it changes things when you find out how they were raised. It's a little easier to have compassion when you undersand what they went through as kids. Sorry to hear about your neighbor's son, you're right, that is heavy. This is why I love blogging, because there is always someone out there to share with and look to for support.

Kristi said...

I do love this bloggin thing. It has opened up a whole new "world" to me. I didn't realize how "home-body" like I had become since I had this baby. It is nice to have some contact with the outside world, and to vent some things to people that arent' family, or live next door. It has been really nice I tell ya.

Queen of Chaos said...

Oh, what a great post, Geri. :)

You have been so blessed!

Queen of Chaos said...

I meant to add-
HAPPY, HAPPY Birthday to YOU!!!!!!!

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