Loving, Often Funny, Memories of My Dad
by Peggy McIlveene
OK, Daddy, Mama had her “Dean Martin Roast”, now it’s your turn. I told her that as much as I’ve always stayed “stuck up her butt” that I would have more memories of Mom, but I actually have more “Daddy” stories!
The earliest “Daddy” story I remember is about the pervert at the movie theater. I was real young, I’m not sure how young, but young. The three of us had gone to the indoor movie. We were sitting: Mama, nearest the aisle, then Daddy, then me. Some older man (seemed about 40+, but it’s sketchy) sat on my other side. He asked me if I wanted to sit in his lap. Having “never met a stranger”, I don’t know what gave me the sense to do so, but I told Daddy what the man asked, and we got up and moved.
It would aggravate the life out of Mama when we’d go to Sears and J.C. Penney to get a few school clothes or whatever for me. Mama would think we were finished, and we’d be filing down the aisles heading for the parking lot. We’d be across the store, about ready to walk out, and Daddy would want her to wait for HIM to check out. Why? Because as we walked through the store, he was picking up dresses he thought I’d look good in!!! Mama would be steady fussing that I didn’t need more dresses, and Daddy would be putting them up on the counter!
Dad—My Food Provider (Coonass [P.S. A "coonass" is someone who was born in Louisiana... I was born in New Orleans] Specialty):
We used to go to Galveston and spend the weekend with Aunt Val and Uncle Jewel. Before bedtime, Daddy would set out string with chicken bait on it to catch crabs. I would wake up REAL early and sneak out to the wharf. I always wanted to see how many crabs he’d caught, but as soon as I pulled the strings out of the water to check them, and the crabs would fall off on the wharf and starting sidling in my direction, I would drop the strings and haul it for land!!! Of course, all the crabs crawled off into the water. By the time Daddy would wake up and go check the strings, they would be empty… chicken and all! He never could figure it out! Yes, Daddy, you WERE a good crabber… you always had 3-4 on each string!!!
Dad—My Dinner Partner:
One time, we had English peas for dinner, along with the meat and an avocado half each. Back then, all canned English peas were big and hard, so I didn’t like them at all. Dinner proceeded, and I, of course, saved the peas for last. Mama got up to take her dishes into the kitchen, and I looked at Daddy, then looked back down and stuffed my peas under my avocado shell so Mama would think I ate them. Daddy started laughing, but was controlling himself by the time Mama came back in the room. Mama says, “Oh, good, you ate all your peas!” Daddy starts laughing, but tries not to let Mama see. She asks him what’s so funny, and he tells her, “Oh, nothing.” She takes my plate into the kitchen, and goes to swipe the avocado shell into the garbage can, and peas go flying everywhere! She was furious at me for doing that, and furious at Daddy for laughing and for allowing it to happen!!!
Dad—My Fashion Consultant:
When I was a young teenager (the 60’s), the super-short miniskirts were all the rage. I’d have Mama pinning up my skirts to hem them. I would, of course, want her to hem them 5-6” shorter than she wanted them to be. She’d say, “Your butt’s gonna show!” I’d tell her, “No, it won’t! Everybody wears them this short.” “Fine,” she’d say, “then we’ll go ask your Daddy.” She’d bring me into the living room. Daddy would be laying on the couch, watching TV, and she’d tell him, “Look at this, Maury. Isn’t this too short?” He glance over, look at the skirt, and say, “Looks OK to me!” “Yeah,” she’d say, “but if any boy says anything to her, you’re going to come unglued!” Daddy would just laugh, but she’d have to give in. NOT a happy camper!!!
Dad—The Money Provider:
I used to get $2.50 every other week for allowance, which was an OK amount back then, especially since I didn’t have to do a lick around the house to earn it, and didn’t have to pay for anything except what I wanted. OK, I’ll admit I was a LITTLE spoiled, but not much. J Anyway, by the time the weekend would roll around, my best friend, Bonnie Bryan, would want me to go spend the day at Northline Mall (the only one in town at the time) with her, and I was already out of my allowance. Mama would usually be in the kitchen, washing dishes or cooking. I’d go in there and ask her for some money to go to the mall with Bonnie, and she’d ask, “Where’s your money from your allowance?” I’d tell her, “I already spent it.” She’d say, “Well, tough luck, then, I don’t guess you’ll get to go.” I’d stalk off, wait about 10 minutes, and go ask Daddy. He’d hand me $10 usually. Mama would hit the roof! Daddy would say, “Well, she needs to have something to spend.” I know Mama wanted to smack me one!”
Dad—The Punisher (otherwise known as C&W Music Blues Specialist!):
Mama and I would be in the kitchen. She’d be washing dishes, and I’d be drying them. Suddenly, we would be arguing about one thing and another, and I’d get just a little too smart to suit her. She’d yell out, “Maury, make her go sit with you!” Daddy would call me in. I’d glare at Mama, but go see Daddy, of course. He’d make me sit at the other end of the couch, and he’d put his feet on my lap so I wouldn’t get up. And, invariably, he’d be watching “Porter Wagner” and “Grand Ol’ Opry”. I would have rather he just beat me and let me up. To this day, Daddy, I can’t STAND either show!!!
Dad—My Camp Instructor:
My most hated vacations were camping ones. I HATED to go camping!!! I don’t like sleeping in a hot tent, I don’t like being without TV, radio, etc., and I definitely don’t like BUGS! J But most of all, I hated having to stay at camp with them, while my sister, Dianne, went to the pavilion for dances (she was adopted to Mama's cousin)! I always said, “When I have kids, I’m never gonna treat them the way you treat me!” Guess what? I was worse on mine and I STILL HATE CAMPING!!!
My Dad was the perfect role model, too, when searching for the perfect man. I guess that’s why, before I met Richard, I’d never been able to find one who came even CLOSE to being the kind of man my Daddy is. Daddy taught me honesty, friendliness, respect for others and for myself, how to be energetic, and, yes, stubbornness. He also taught me love of God and desire to live right. He wasn’t a drinker, a carouser, a gambler, a child abuser, or anything else that would endanger his family… in other words, the closest thing to a perfect daddy that you can get here on earth! Just the kind of daddy God talked about in the Bible!
I love you with all my heart, Daddy.