• Lisa

about daddy

Sorry I'm so late! Mom has been very challenging the past couple of weeks. Her psychiatrist started her on a trial of a new medication patch, but it only seemed to make matters worse. She got much more agitated and belligerent, more unsteady when she tried to walk, and started this weird jerky movement pattern and tremoring. So that got canned. Waste of money if you ask me, but then, if we hadn't tried it we wouldn't know, so there's that. She's back to her 'usual' self now, but she did get me the other night when she promised that after she passed on she would be thinking of me and watching out for me.

Father's Day is this weekend (in the US anyway; apologies if you are reading this elsewhere in the world). It's an odd anniversary for me, because it was Father's Day weekend last year the first time mom had an episode of not knowing me. I'm trying not to think so much about that though, and instead focus on the real purpose, which is dads. I miss mine a lot, so today I'm going to talk a little bit about him if y'all don't mind. (If you do mind, I'm going to do it anyway, LOL. Feel free to scroll though. I know some people have dad issues & I respect that. Come back next time, though. I think I may talk about crafting.)

My dad came from east Tennessee. He was the oldest boy of eight children born to his parents, and had to quit school after sixth grade and go to work so the younger kids could go. He also had three older half-brothers from his father's first marriage. Oh, and a half sister from his mom, who wasn't in touch with the rest til they all were grown. To their credit, the whole family kind of went "oh, really? Okay" and started inviting her and her kids to the family reunions. (edited for accuracy, with thanks to my cousin Patsy the Mad Genealogist)

Daddy didn't have much formal education, but he was sharp! He taught himself to work on cars, and came to Nashville in the early 60s and went to work at the then-only (I think) Cadillac dealer in town. Working there, he got to know a lot of the period's big country music stars, and honed a couple of his most stellar traits: he treated everybody the same, and he was honest to a fault. He liked to tell about a certain huge star who called in a panic once asking him to get some papers out of his glove box and hold them, and not give them to anybody. I mean ANYBODY...including Mrs. Huge Star, who came by shortly after the call, asking for papers from the car. Three guesses what was going on there. Daddy didn't know; he didn't take a peek at the papers, just handed them over to their owner when he arrived.

Those traits got him into some terrific situations. Elvis Presley used to drive one of his many Cadillacs from Memphis to Nashville to record. The dealership where daddy worked was close to Music Row, and Elvis would drop his car off there to be serviced. When they found out the first couple of mechanics they assigned it to were stealing parts off the cars and selling them to fans, they gave it to daddy. Did I mention how honest he was? My mom loved Elvis but daddy wouldn’t even bring her home a nut or a bolt.

I think I also may have mentioned he treated everybody the same, whether they were the business owner or the janitor...or the King. :) Elvis dropped by one time to check on his car and ended up hanging out with daddy half the afternoon. He came by several times after that; he loved being just treated like a regular guy. I was very little then and people tell me daddy talked about me all the time. I know he did to Elvis, because he always said he remembered Elvis commenting what a nice name Lisa was for a little girl. So when he had a daughter, what did he name her? Daddy always called Lisa Marie my godchild. Except when she married Michael Jackson. He couldn’t get his head around that.

The last time daddy worked on one of Elvis’ cars, Colonel Parker came by to pick it up before they headed back to Memphis. He said Elvis had sent a present for ‘your Lisa’. It was a print of an oil painting of a young Elvis. Somewhere around here is an old Polaroid photo of me at about age 4 or 5? holding it with a big missing-front-teeth grin. Years later I looked it up and found only a few of them were printed, as gifts for the presidents of Elvis’ fan clubs. I wish daddy had thought to ask the Colonel to get Elvis to sign it, but he wasn’t the kind of person to ask for something like that.

Daddy had the greenest thumb of anyone short of the Jolly Green Giant, and loved living things. Anyone who harmed them earned his utmost contempt. He used to say, anyone who would hurt an animal would hurt a child. He had never read any of the scholarly studies that said that very thing, either. Remind me to tell y'all what he did when our dog got hit by a car....maybe next week?

He hated having his picture taken, but when I bought a new digital camera to take to New York with my cousin (Lord, was that really seven years ago?) he let me try it out on him. So here he is, in his natural habitat, in his recliner with a snack in hand. I miss you Daddy!



#family #caregiver #dementia

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