– NOT SUICIDE RELATED.Just reminiscing. –
My dad could build. He wasn’t a contractor, per se, he was in the telecommunications business. But somewhere along the way, someone taught him how to build. Stuff, things.
My town recently passed an ordinance banning plastic grocery bags, because apparently they are evil and destructive and naughty, and the universe must be saved from them. So, today, I bought three cookies and a small bag of potato chips and left the store holding one of those extra gonzo size heavy duty paper grocery sacks designated as “1/6 BBL (70#) with “Renewable, recyclable, sustainable, and contains minimum 40% post-consumer material” printed on the bottom. Whew. The future of Earth is now safe, for eons to come.
Now, I must decide what to do with my extra gonzo bag.
As a kid, my dad built this “thing” – it was a storage compartment and trash can combo. The bottom part of it featured an area into which this sort of bag could be installed and held in place utilizing a simple binder clip assembly, filled with garbage and removed and replaced as needed. It worked wonderfully. Above that, was a storage area just slightly larger than these extra gonzo bags, into which as many as a hundred or so could be stored, provided they were folded neatly.
This contraption was just one of many such contraptions that dad designed and built. He did the lions share of the work on an addition to our family home when I was young. It took years of work on weekends and evenings, after his full time job, and mom hated that he insisted on doing as much of the work as possible in order to save money, but one day many years later, it was. . . complete. Dad’s greatest accomplishment, a memorial and testament to his skill and ability.
Dad found a basketball goal post for me once. It was buried in someone’s back yard, and he talked them into selling it so I could have it. It took the better part of a Saturday to remove it, he and I working together under a sweltering southwest Texas desert sun. At one point, the use of a heavy metal bar and a sledge hammer was necessary to break up some concrete. I had never swung a sledge hammer at the miniscule end of a steel bar before, and at the age of 14, lacked a refined sense of hand – eye coordination, but dad held the bar in his hands, told me to “focus only on the end of the bar, and try not to miss and hit my arms.”
I did, and I didnt. And roughly two weeks later, I had a nice new goal post in my front yard.
Dad trusted me that day. Without resevation, without visible doubt. He just told me what to do, and waited for me to do it. And I did it.
So, today, I’m staring at this extra gonzo paper bag, and trying to figure out where I’ll store it when I get home, but I don’t build. I do other things, but unlike dad, I don’t build.
I’ll probably use it to dispose of my cats used litter, since my city now says I can no longer purchase groceries and place them in plastic bags, which I then filled with the same litter.
I’ve hated my dad, disliked my dad, liked my dad, loved my dad, ignored him, scoffed at and disrespected him, secretly imagined killing him, and cleaned him after he soiled himself a few years before alzheimers claimed him. I shaved his face in a hospital once, and listened to him ramble about nothing and everything as we sat eating fried chicken in a fast food joint, during the early days of alzheimers. And I’ve buried my dad. I pinned two of his military service medals on the lapels of his suit jacket as he lay in his casket, the day of his funeral, and fought back tears as he received a twenty one gun salute at the cemetery, under not a sweltering sun, but a mild October sun in the desert of southwest Texas.
Dad broke me down, along with mom, over a lot of years. It’s what parents do. It’s what humans do. They succesfully crushed my spirit, and stifled me through years of just being human. It’s everyone’s story, the only difference is the names, the places, the dates, yeah, the details. Parents crush child, child hates parents, child buries parents, child reconciles as best they can, or maybe not.
I suppose I can start a collection of 1/6 BBL (70#) bags now, thanks to a new municipal ordinance.
I miss you, Dad.