The Man in My Life

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I was going to get into some book stuff for today’s post. I was going to tell you just how I felt about Robertson Davies and C. G. Jung, but I think what I’ve gone with- something a little closer to home- is exactly what you need for a chuckle and a tender moment. I’ll come back to the literary boys sometime in the future.

Let me tell you about my dad. His name is William Andrew Cecil Parrington, a hoighty toighty name if there ever was one. He likes Bill better, for its brevity and clarity. I got the William for my middle name. Sometimes I call him Willy; I think he hates me a little when I do that.

Some people think Dad isn’t a social guy. What they don’t realise is that he’s actually a big sweetie with a heart of gold, tucked away in a somewhat cynical set of armor. Dad cares very much about the people who share his life, and has always worked very hard to take care of them. I am a case in point. Through all the trouble I gave him as a teen, he remained the same- ready to receive me back and teach me what he knew of life. I’m a tough guy to teach anything to, as I prefer the firsthand experience to the helping hand. I guess he figured since he was my dad, he could be the exception to the rule. I’m not saying he was right about that, but I’ve come to appreciate the sentiment.

Dad worked his way up from the factory floor to senior financial admnistration over the course of his married life. He was a strikebreaker in his twenties, but has taken the opposite view in his steadily mellowing age. I know he only did it because he wanted to take care of his family, though, and did the most immediately logical thing.

Sometimes I know we all thought Dad worked too much- was away from us too much. Maybe he was. But again, I know why he did it the way he did- and he still does. I still benefit today from the guidance he provides from his wide range of experience, and from the financial support he provides my own family when times turn hard. Maybe I would have benefitted from a little more face time with my dad, growing up. I still think he pulled off his juggling act with pretty fine flying colors.

Dad has worked at two chocolate factories, and two major producers of cosmetics. As a result, we of his clan are all well fed and beautiful. Those of you who went to school with me might remember when I started up my own business selling reject chocolate from the factory at a major discount! I still long, sometimes, for the days of five bucks for a pound of chocolate, courtesy of Dan and his dad.

What does Bill do other than work, then? Although not a reader like his eldest son, Dad likes to read history and what I would describe as trivia: regional accounts, meanings of place names, family histories. He actually wrote a family history himself many years past, something that remains a typewritten artifact in the home filing cabinet. He managed my sister’s hockey team for a while when she was into that.

Dad is also an avid music fan. Rumor has it that he had and played an electric guitar when he and Mom got married, but she broke it over his head during a heated discussion. It’s possible I exaggerate. He did play the guitar, though, and does play the piano like a champ. He played at our wedding ceremony, remember? I told him what I wanted played literally a day before the ceremony, and he adapted not only one but five or six rock songs for the purpose! Aura’s processional music, by the way, was Dad’s keyboard rendition of Lou Reed’s cover of This Magic Moment. If that wasn’t a tricky ball to hit out of the park, I’m none wiser.

I myself am culpable for what could have been a serious injury to my Dad when I was younger. He was working on the garden hose setup in the backyard one day when it came about that he was in need of his Big Heavy Wrench. Seeking assistance from his responsible eldest, Dad asked me to fetch said wrench. I did, but I was in a hurry to get on with it and do whatever it was I was doing. Quickly analysing the situation, I ascertained that the shortest path between the wrench and my father was through the air. So through the air it went, and as he turned to look at me- a smile full of hapless innocence on his face- it struck him right between the eyes. How he survived, I don’t know. I saw him a couple nights ago, though, and he looks alright.

I think you can tell how much I like this man. Yeah, he’s got a warped sense of humor, but I laugh at his jokes. You have to remember I nearly killed him. You know what the worst thing my dad ever said was? It was “Tronk”. No one has ever even said that word before, not before my dad. But one day when he was fixing my sister’s bed, it fell on his leg and boy, did he let out a “Tronk”. I don’t use that sort of language myself, you understand, but I forgive it in a stand up guy like him.

Enough about my old man. You’ll hear about him now and then, naturally, so it seemed fair to write him up for you. I hope you all get to meet him- and maybe get to know him- sometime in your life. I’ve had a while to check it out, and you know what? It’s totally worth it.

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