Fathers’ Day

My father comes back to me in little memories . . .

During my childhood Dad worked as an electrician for General Electric.  My two sisters and I often competed for his time and affection.

This one particular evening we discovered Dad in his big, red naugahyde chair with his feet propped up on the matching ottoman.  A fierce battle broke out for lap rights.  Eventually the pushing and jabbing subsided and we were snuggled up on his lap, warm in our jammies and secure in his arms.

“Dad, tell us a bedtime story!  Pleeeez?” we whined.

Dad thought for a moment.  “I only know one kind of bedtime story.  Not the kind little kids should hear.”

Of course, that made us pester him even more.

“Okay, okay.  But I have to warn you.  This story is one of my . . .  Bedtime Stories for Juvenile Delinquents.

Ooooh!  Juvenile delinquents!

For you readers who might not be familiar with the term, in those days a juvenile delinquent was the worst form of teenager you could possibly become. Think fast cars, motorcycle chains, and switchblades.  Bad, bad, bad.  None of us wanted to become THAT.  You also need to realize it was a time when children weren’t exposed to harsh realities and violence the way they are today.  Probably the worst we could imagine was Lassie failing to get help in time.

After a few story-telling sessions my sisters and I learned that Dad’s Bedtime Stories for Juvenile Delinquents followed a perverse formula that delighted the heck out of our young and innocent minds.  The characters in these stories were always sweet animals living an idyllic life in their natural setting.  Through no fault of their own, or perhaps through their own ignorance, these unsuspecting creatures invariably met a sudden demise so swift and cruel it took our breath away.  And we loved it!

Quiet and still, we listened as Dad told the story.

“Once there was a flock of starlings.  These starlings were like a huge family, flying above the towns and fields, swooping down to drink out of streams and to eat bugs out of people’s yards.  When they were full, they liked to sit together on a wire, singing and enjoying each other’s company.

It was a good life for everybody.

One day they were all on the line.  It was pretty crowded up there but they were happy to be together, shoulder-to-shoulder, enjoying the light rain on their feathers.  A few were taking a little snooze.  After a while, along came one more starling.  He kept flying about the others, trying to find a spot for himself.  Eventually one of the starlings jostled the starling next to him to make room, and this last bird settled himself on the line.

Well, every starling had to move just a little bit.  This caused the bird on the end to come in contact with the transformer which sent electricity flowing through the birds down the line.

Pop.  Pop.  Pop-pop. Pop-pop-pop . . . .”

We waited a moment.  Dead quiet.  Then realization hit us . . . . “Oh, Daddy, that’s terrible!  What an awful story!” we screamed in mock horror.  “How could you!  You should be ashamed of yourself!”  Soon we were laughing and begging for another one of his “horrible” Bedtime Stories for Juvenile Delinquents.

Several years later Dad’s story of the starlings spoke to me.   A small act by one may impact the lives of many.  Think before you act.

Aesop’s got nothing on MY dad.

Fathers.  Everyone should have a good one.

rvsue

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About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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14 Responses to Fathers’ Day

  1. Bob Giddings says:

    That is a wonderful memory. I hope for more such.

    A friend of mine tells a story of being an apprentice electrician for the City of Austin. The first time he climbed up a pole and looked down on a transformer, he claimed it was covered by dozens of little dirty little birdy feet fried in place when the rest of the birds had exploded into flying feathers as they reached up to peck the line.

    I was never able to confirm this story. But it made a fine story. Still does, though without much of a moral. Until now. Thanks.

    Bob, who wonders if electric bug zappers work like prayer wheels, only in reverse. If so, we are all in a heap of trouble.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Bob, This is the first time I have heard anything more about birds and electric wires. Of course I’ve wondered if Dad’s story, perhaps on a smaller scale, held a possibility of actually happening. Thanks for passing along the apprentice’s story. And if you are a father, Happy Fathers Day to you! If you ever stop visiting here and making comments, and I know life happens and you are under no obligation — still, just the same, I would feel the loss.

  2. rvsueandcrew says:

    NOTICE: IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE A COMMENT, PLEASE DO SO.

    Ever since WordPress changed the appearance of the reply box, the number of comments has declined. Other WordPress bloggers have experienced a decline in comments also. We think it may be because of the insertion of buttons for twitter and facebook. Several bloggers, including myself, have let WordPress know we liked the reply box the way it was.

    Do not be concerned. You will not be connected to twitter or facebook when you leave a reply (if you don’t log in to those sites). Just write your reply and post it. The Post Comment button is waaaaay down at the bottom. You may have to click on the Post Comment button more than once to make sure it posts.

    If you don’t feel like leaving a reply, it would be helpful if you would just send a “hello” so I can tell if the reply box is working properly. I’d appreciate it. Thanks, rvsue

  3. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the tribute to Dad, my favorite story was some horrible tale about rats! How he loved us…

  4. Pauline Nash says:

    Oh My, My!!!!! How we loved to hate those stories. I seem to remember one about a cute rabbit or some animal. Dad went on and on to describe the daily activities and then said…..Then he ran out into the road and got hit by a truck!!!! No change in tone, nothing to warn you that THAT was coming.
    Susan and Nancy….we had a very special Dad. He could fix ANYTHING. I think he had stock in battleship gray paint…the color of my first bike and most everything else we owned. Oh what fun memories. Thanks so much for making this Father’s Day special.

    I love you both so very much
    Big Sis
    Pauline

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Pauline,

      Yeah, there was one about a truck hitting an animal! You’re right. It wasn’t the plot that got to you, it was the way he lulled you into imagining the animal’s wonderful life and then, BAM! . . . surprised you with this sudden, terrible tragedy. What a guy.

      I wondered how much you and Nancy remembered. Yes, and the Battleship Gray paint. I think he fixated on it during WWII in the Navy . . . I had to laugh when I found myself picking up a can of it to paint the well house on my property. The apple doesn’t fall far from . . .

      Hey, I love you both, too! Awwwwww . . .

  5. Hotel California says:

    Thought I sent a comment early this morning, but it didn’t appear.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Doug!

      I had a feeling I was not getting the comments! Thanks for checking in again. Now I know for sure. I’m sorry we didn’t get to read your comment..

      I don’t like where the Post Comment button is now. You have to scroll way down to find it and it’s white against white. I think some people might have clicked on the guest button instead.

  6. Hotel California says:

    Hmmm…worked that time. Hi.

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