My Dad is getting a cat
My dad is getting a new cat. This is nothing remarkable to note, except perhaps for the fact that he got his first cat in his home last year. The cat bit people, and he gave it away, after the $150 of shots and supplies from the humane society. It wasn’t what he expected, so it was sent off somewhere else. Then, my dad missed the cat.
So, he is adopting another cat. Paying the $150 of shots and supplies from the humane society, in hopes of a new best friend to keep him company.
Last year he bought a deep freezer to store extra frozen foods, like we always had when I was growing up. He never used it, because he lives alone. He sold it in the newspaper a few months later.
A year and ½ ago he bought a handgun. My dad was a farmer when I was growing up and used to use a shotgun periodically to kill animals that didn’t belong on our farm, or to put wounded cats out of their misery. He decided since he now lives in a city of 110,000 people that he needed a handgun for protection. He stored it in his glove compartment. A few months later, he decided he never used it. Which we are all grateful for, so he sold it.
Four years ago my dad sold our house that we had since before I was born. He did not consult his wife of over 25 years, or ask his grown daughters. He sold the house, and the land, and since my mom did not agree, she did not move into the new house in town he had bought. Marriage….now legal separation.
My dad bought a Camaro, then sold it. He bought several other cars, then a 1969 convertible that he only drives in the summer. He’ll eventually sell that too.
The only thing in his life that has been consistent in the last 15 years, may very well be his nightly drinks of whiskey and visits to the local bar. He only misses on Easter Sunday, the only day they close, or if he takes a trip, but even then, he scouts out the local establishment.
This is a man who does not like fat people. He does not think that very dark skinned people are quite human. He believes all native americans are lazy. Some of his tokens of fatherly advice include, “if you eat another donut you will get fat, then you’ll be sorry”, “The main thing is to stay calm, don’t get excited,” and “don’t fall in love when you go to college.” Also, he will say things like “I would never offer a dessert to a fat person” and then try to pawn off his leftovers and sweets to anyone who will take them. “You should never drop below 100 pounds. When I need to gain weight, I just have an extra donut.”
He has incredibly low blood pressure, perhaps due to his thinning blood from whiskey. He has a hard time hearing, and understanding jokes, but is still a strong old farmer with good genes. He will smoke until the day he dies, because, he has always has, and “why would I change now?” “We all have to die of something.”
My dad is not a bad man. He is not a belligerent drunk, but he can be very mean, without ever really meaning to.
He taught me how, as an uncoordinated seven year old, to play ping pong. He stayed in for family game nights growing up, and built snow forts outside for my sister and I in the cold North Dakota winters. He made us peanut butter toast in the mornings before school. He took us trick or treating, and to pick out a Christmas tree, and to meet Santa Claus every year. He let us drive the combine one day in the summer, and taught my sister and I how to use a hammer and a nail. He has moved me from apartment to apartment in college, to Oregon and back, and to Ohio. He has given me money when I need it.
He is the man who used to wear a light yellow coat on Sundays for many years, refusing to get a new one, because, there’s no reason when what you have works. He used to come in from the grain fields on summer nights, unshaven, and kiss me goodnight, telling me a made up story of how a pig came and talked to him by the shed that day. I believed it, and it was a piece of magic from the man that was my daddy.
Now, he is quite different. Weathered and a little more bitter and hardened by years and whisky. Alone and very lonely. The pigs don’t talk to him anymore. Maybe the cat will start to.