Watching the father-daughter dancers at tonight’s Father-Daughter Dance (hosted by Northside Fayetteville Rotary Club) was so sweet and touching. I was reminded how funny and goofy dads can be. I’m blessed to know so many good ones and to have had such a great one of my own. Watching some of the dads’ dance-floor moves and the way they played with their girls made me think about some of the random, silly things about my dad.
Twenty random things about my goofy dad:
1. He liked to get boxes of “tractor-tire” donuts that he would keep in his pickup. They were crullers, of course, but they did look like tractor tires.
2. We went to the livestock auction many times, which was typical for farmers in our area. The day he bought a donkey instead of any cattle or hogs was not typical. We named the donkey Truman, and he roamed our pasture for several years.
3. He had almost no musical talents. He did like to do this sort of spoken-word version of “Mack the Knife.” He also tried to sing “Big Bad John” (his name was Jon). One of his other favorite songs was “Afternoon Delight,” and I was mortified when I realized what the song was about.
4. Dad was famous for his corny jokes. A long-time staple was any time a ham was nearby he would stick a pair of headphones into it, enter whatever room the rest of us were in, and announce that he had a “ham radio.” I’m still groaning over that.
5. When my son was little, Dad would hide a coon skin cap in the Christmas tree and then have him look for the “racoon” in the tree.
6. He would eat anything . . . except oyster stew.
7. He got furious about people spraying perfume on themselves or in a store.
8. He always wore cowboy boots. Always. He always had two pairs. One was for dress, basically just church, and then those for work. When the work boots wore out then he’d make the good boots the work boots and get a new pair of “dress” boots.
9. Our bathroom could have doubled as a library.
10. He like fried bologna and grilled peanut butter sandwiches. He loved ice cream.
11. He greatly enjoyed and took special pride in building retaining walls.
12. Dad let my brother Mike drive tractors when he was very, very young.
13. For many years the Christmas lights on the front of my parents’ house read “Bah Humbug.”
14. He referred to the state capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska as the “Penis of the Plains.” Admittedly, it does look like that.
15. He cried the day I went to kindergarten.
16. He found a dinosaur skull in a gravel pit when he was young and working in one (well, I guess that’s why he was at the gravel pit). The skull stayed on his desk or on shelves near his workspace for decades.
17. He collected political buttons and had an impressive collection.
18. On frosty mornings when he was taking us to school, he would toss hot coffee from his cup onto the windshield to melt the frost instead of scraping it. He didn’t use travel cups and spilled coffee on himself almost daily.
19. We had a horse named Cathy and when I was learning to ride her Dad made me ride bareback so I could learn to “feel” the horse under me and how it moved. At one point Cathy reared up and I slid off the back end and busted my butt when I hit the ground. Dad made me do the cliche thing and get back on that dang thing.
20. Dad thought the movie Dances with Wolves should win the Academy Award for Best Picture every year. And he told us all that every year.