Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sweet girls...

I just saw a squashed turtle by the side of the road and it reminded me of a sweet tale from this past Sping. Now I know you're asking yourself how'd I get sweet out of squashed turtle, but trust me, as usual there's a story.

The family and I travelled the couple of hours to go visit my parents for the weekend. My Dad and I took the girls for a drive in our car and ended up feeding the ducks at a local duck pond. It just so happens the pond is at the foot of the cemetery where most of my family is buried. After the bread was all gone I asked Dad to show me where everyone was buried. It's not often I get to visit there and the family is spread out. As we were headed up the hill, Dad passed over the top of a fairly large turtle. I mentioned it to the girls who were, of course, dying to see it but couldn't because of their car seats. I told Dad to just back up and straddle him again and we'd pull up next to him so they could get the obligatory view. He said he wasn't sure he could do it seeing as how he was driving our car, but I told him that I had all the faith; after all, the  turtle wasn't that damn big. we backed up there was this tremendous popping sound; just like driving over an empty Coke bottle. Yup. You guessed it. We made a turtle crepe. Dad looked at me and I looked at him, both not knowing what to say to the three, sweet, rather stunned, blond girls in the back seat. They of course asked if it was the turtle and I of course lied and said he had already "run" off and that their Grandad ran over a big stick. The little one accepted that tale rather quickly, but the big two were dubious as to my fib. To get it off their mind as quickly as possible we drove on up the hill and made our way over to where my Grandparents are buried. I got out of the car to go take a look and the girls walked with me. Dad sat in the car and waited; he has some serious back issues these days. As I cleared the headstone of debris I started to tear up. A flood of memories rushed back at me in the blink of an eye and the welling up turned into full blown sobbing. Swinging on the front porch, eating chestnuts, watching the Three Stooges and laughing; all of it. my profession there's not a lot of crying. Hell, in the South, men just don't do it, especially in front of a family that looks to you for strength. But, there we were. Three small children watching and listening with wide eyes and dropped jaws as their Dad, who has never cried in front of them, cut loose with a washpail full of tears and emotion. It was at this point that I realized one child was holding each hand and one had latched onto my leg and was doing her deadlevel best to rock me. Man. What a set of kids. Of course that scene just made me even more emotional and it took a couple of moments to collect myself. I sent the girls back down to the car with their Pa and came down a minute or so later. My Dad seemed worried at first, but figured out what was going on pretty quickly and  just gave me a knowing nod. What a great Pop. Not a word passed between us, but in that brief nod of the head I knew that he completely understood. It was as if he had said, "been there, bud. No worries." As we drove around some more I found myself looking out the window trying to avoid the children seeing their Father's face; red and streaked. That's when I felt a small hand reach up by the headrest and begin to pat me ever so softly on the shoulder. Wow. It made me wonder to myself how many times I sat in a chair patting and rocking those dear sweet girls thinking I was the one doing all the soothing, only to realize it was that very act that has helped me keep my sanity over the past few years. After a lousy day I often find myself grabbing one of the small blond monkeys as she runs by and rocking with her. Even if just for a moment. It seems to knock the edge off and put all right. That little hand patted me until I gathered myself and then she stopped on her own. Just at the right time, as if she knew when it was all better. If they only knew...

I don't know if that all made sense, but I sure couldn't make that up if I tried. It's funny the stuff one remembers at the oddest of times. As a Father, it seems that I grow increasingly more emotional as the years go by. I guess it comes with age. I'm sure it will only get worse; especially as I try to play spy and follow my girls around on those first dates, locked and loaded, waiting for the little SOB to make his first move. I'm sure they're going to hate me after that all shakes out. Anyway, enough of that. Y'all have a good one 'un.


  1. Yeah, fatherhood has a way of softening a fella. Here's MY nod to you.

  2. Anonymous10:46 PM

    And I'm patting you on the back too!

  3. Thanks, Mid Pat and Anon. Everyone needs a little pat now and then. Have a great weekend.