Monday, May 21, 2007

What Dads Are For

This blog will have nothing to do with books at all.
It is moreso about how, as a child, I was filled with demons!
And how my dad, [shown here] became my hero.

When I was a kid I had a cat named Joe.
Joe was sleek, black, and a real prowler. Admittedly, he had a few quirks. One was that he loved to eat locusts. And our back yard was infested with locusts. The big grasshoppers that have wings. Some of the more serious ones even make a big clacking sound as they fly erratically all over the place.
Hah! That colossal racket gives them away bigtime!
Joe would bat them right out of the air and eat them, legs hangi
ng out of his mouth. I was always astounded, and somewhat disgusted at this. But I loved him, despite his eating habits and bad breath!
His other quirk [also related to ingestion, I guess] was that, at times, he thought I was his mom.
I won’t tell you how I…. [ahem]… knew this!
Suffice it to say, I started to wear shirts around Joe, more often!

But now here are the demonic parts of the story.
Joe, as do all cats, loved to sleep. God, he could sleep good.
All curled up and toasty, say for instance, on the couch.
But I had the devil in me, I did. [I have since been properly exorcised!]
I cannot tell you how many times I crept up to Joe, so peacefully dreaming of mountainsides filled with low-flying locusts… and I would put a deck of playing cards right up to his ever-sensitive bionic cat-ear…. an ear that could hear, in that moment, a mouse blinking, across the room.

Then….. RIIIIIIIIIIP… I would rifle through the cards with a horrendous snap!
54 gunshots [including Jokers] into his poor comatose brain! Joe would leap to the ceiling, and I would laugh.
Ha – ha – ha – ha – ha!
[Because I had the devil in me!]

And I also had a drumset.
Joe loved to sleep right in the bass drum, because I had a pillow in there, to muffle the sound.
Again, visions of locusts, yadda, yadda… fields of catnip, the whole nine yards…
[Do you know where I’m going with this?]
Because I was full of Satan, I would creep…. creep…. creep…. to my trusty drumstool.
Sit down. Even wait a bit, savoring the moment, shoulders heaving.
Then, with all of my weight, along with some I never even had, I would trounce upon that bass-drum pedal.

Sweet LORD!
Joe would launch twenty feet across the room without once touching rug!

I so loved that cat!
We had him for hmmm… well over a decade?
Then, one day he was gone.
And it wasn’t LIKE Joe to be gone, ever!
Things got bad. Our back yard was becoming really locust-infested in his absence!
We finally had the sense to phone the local Pound, and ask them if they had perhaps picked up a black cat near our address.
[I can still see my dad nodding with the phone at his ear…. listening…]

They had!
They knew Joe.
But….. [grab a box of Kleenex]… because he was never claimed in time, Joe had already been euthanized.

My dad then found out that the reason Joe was nabbed in the first place was because our neighbors had TRAPPED HIM in an actual CAT TRAP, in their yard.
I will never forget what happened next, as long as I live.

My dad marched outside [I ran after him… hence you are getting an eyewitness account here]… and I listened as my dad tore a nice Saskatchewan-sized rectangular strip off our neighbor, Mr. Kreutz!
Oh God, I loved it.
I loved hearing my dad consign this guy to the future torments of hell.

There were threats given, from both sides of the fence, but my dad’s ones were way better.
In the fracas, my dad even brought up the issue of how Mr. Kreutz had once changed the oil in his car and spilled the old stuff out so close to our fence that it had leaked into our garden soil. [Personally, I thought this was reason enough to kill the guy right then and there. You’ve gotta remember, I had demons.]

But my dad did not kill anyone that day.

When he said all that needed to be said he turned and walked back to where I was. Hiding behind something.
Where I had been listening, and shaking, in a mixture of sadness and worship.
Sadness, because Joe could not be replaced.
Worship, because my dad could never be, either.

Let me say it ahead of time… a good month before Father’s Day.
I miss you, dad!

For more about him, click HERE!


stefanie said...

What a sad and wonderful story. And what a great dad!

Sam Houston said...

Oh so nicely done, Cip.

My own father just turned 85 years old and I try to see him at least every other day because I've come to realize how short our remaining time together has become.

Thanks for another reminder to make the most of that time.

cipriano said...

Thank you, Stefanie and Sam, for reading yet another tribute to my dad.
Make the most of it, Sam!
The most important and memorable moment of my life was the last time my dad hugged me. It was the last thing he really did on this earth.
Hours later, the next morning..... well, one day I will write of it.
-- Cip