Monday, August 8, 2011
A story about my Dad and me
We share a good many things in common. I have his feet. His strong love of family. His discerning spirit. His letter writing habit. And also his short leash on patience, something we both want to overcome.
I could pick his laughter out of a crowd as well as his whistle. He can name a tune within the first beat, and offers a hundred dollar bill to the first person to name an obscure artist of a song he knows my mom nor I will be able to guess. He knows how to play his cards like that. If I had a nickel for every time he asked, Who sings it?, well... I'd have a wealth of nickels.
I should also mention that he is a miracle worker. That's right. When I was a little girl and in the throws of a bad coughing fit in the middle of the night, my Dad would fix his special medicine that would cure the cough like nothing else. His potion, as I called it, was strong and swift and boy, did it work.
It tasted awful though, his potion. And even though I knew it would cure me, I dreaded swallowing that warm amber liquid. I always knew when it was coming, too. I'd hear the back door of our house open, the one that leads to the carport. It makes the same noise today it made then, only today it is accompanied by the chime of the alarm system. And just like that, I would know the potion was on it's way.
Within minutes, the back door would open again. Dad would be back inside, in the kitchen, opening this cabinet, closing that one, working quietly and assuredly in the dark of night to help his little girl. Then, he'd be at my bedside, turning on the pink lamp with the lace lampshade on my nightstand.
Here you go, Doodle. Drink this up, now, he'd say.
It's time for your potion, huh, Dad?, I'd say between fits of coughing, half of me grateful and the other half of me willing away the medicinal liquid before me.
I'd drink it up, wince a little, hand the small, empty glass back to Dad.
There we go, Doodle. You'll feel better now, he'd say and hug me sweetly as I lay back down.
Morning would come and with it, a sense of victory knowing I had conquered the potion one more time. My cough long subsided, I would also garner a confidence that my Dad had worked a miracle yet again.
I suppose it was in my later teenage years that I learned what Dad's potion actually was.
Lemon juice, crushed peppermint and Jack Daniels.
I always wondered why the potion called for Dad to go outside in the dead of night. And then I understood. The utility room located just off the carport is the only respectable place for my Dad, the Southern Gentleman Deacon that he is, to store his Black Jack.
One thing is for certain, my Dad never had to worry about me tampering with ole Jack in my college days.
It was and always will be potion in my book.