Later, I am sure on several occasions he thought about taking me back OUT of this world, and then thought, “Oh yeah. I am the man posing with a Budweiser in my swim trunks. Must be dominant genes.”
He has not sobered with age.
When I was little, I thought he was the coolest man ever, and I will tell you why. My Uncle Jack, husband of the great and ornery Aunt Marian, owned a concrete yard, which el Padre managed. After Uncle Jack’s death in 1981, Dad sort of inherited his office, which included a wet bar, a speakerphone under the desk, a dumbwaiter to send memos back and forth from the main office below, and his chair could swivel around from the desk and look out the window.
My dad was J.R. Ewing. Just not as skinny and he never hung out with Barbara Eden.
So down from the main office, there was a little building we called the “yard office,” on top of which was a giant cooler. During the fall, one could ride up on a forklift, open the giant cooler, and choose which big honking deer to take down and have processed. Which I supposed is perhaps a little weird, but very cool to a kindergartener. At least this one.
My dad was Pa Ingalls. Except with modern day things like refrigeration.
But here’s my favorite story. One day Dad says he wants to take me to a movie, which I thought was kind of odd, because movies were usually something the five of us did together, or else something we did with Mom and one or another of our buddies. Plus, we had to go to Atlanta, which I totally did not understand. We have a perfectly good theatre here, who wants to ride an hour to see a movie? And I had to dress up.
So the next day, I went to work with Dad, and after his day finished we get in the car and head to Atlanta, where we went to the Varsity and Dad told old stories about his high school days in Atlanta and old car-hops like the illustrious Flossie Mae. I started to feel pretty important.
Then we go downtown, and the magic began. I had no idea what the Fox Theatre was! There was a 50th Anniversary release of Gone With the Wind, a movie with which I had fallen in love. (I recently rewatched it and it had lost a great deal of its former luster, which makes me kind of sad yet very progressive.) But the movie paled in comparison to the Fox Theatre.
I had never seen anything like it. It was beautiful. Even the bathrooms were beautiful. Each room we passed through was even more opulent than the last. And the ceiling….oh, that ceiling. I couldn’t even pay half attention to the movie because I had to keep an eye on the clouds passing overhead! Were those REAL clouds? Wasn’t there a roof? It looked like there was a roof from the outside, but how do they have real stars twinkling on the ceiling?
Oh, I was mesmerized. Even Scarlett and her trials and tribulations and lyin; stealin’ cheatin’ and killin’ could not compete with that theatre.
So, in addition to being J.R. Ewing and Pa Ingalls, my Dad was also Gerald O’Hara.
But he really didn’t have to be any of those people, because he’s my Dad.