He is dirty from working all day, and I must have been too clean when he got home because he has smeared grease on my face and placed his oily hat on top of my head. We are both laughing hysterically at his little joke.
When I think of our father-daughter relationship, this is the image that always comes to mind.
My daddy doesn’t fit any of the usual stereotypes.
He isn’t a strict disciplinarian. Mama says my brother and I would have turned into hoodlums if he had had to raise us on his own, and she’s probably right.
I’ve never seen him in a suit or even a tie.
His office used to be the woods and the garage where our family’s logging business was based. Now it’s a strip pit.
Several years ago when a doctor asked what he did for a living, Daddy told him that he had been a logger for a long time.
“So you raped the land,” the man said. “Yup and now I rip out its guts,” Daddy responded.
I blew a blood vessel when I heard the story and said I would have told the jerk to refund all the hard-earned “blood money” Daddy had paid him for the privilege of being his patient.
I guess I come by my sense of humor and smart mouth honestly.
Daddy doesn’t play golf, but he does own a monster truck. Technically, it’s a Vega, and he won several trophies with it before I was born.
In later years, it became a storage unit for discarded toys.
Although Daddy gets very irritable if the paper isn’t lying on his recliner when he wakes up, I’m pretty sure the only parts he reads are Dear Abby, the comics and my column.
Daddy is a simple man. He likes snuff, model trains, Loretta Lynn and CAT hats.
I have never doubted his love for me, my brother or my mother for a second.
We didn’t see a lot of him when I was growing up because he worked from daylight to dark, but we made the most of the time we did have together.
Some of my most vivid memories are of Christmas, the perfect holiday for a man who has always been a kid at heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if every home movie we have of us opening presents begins with him saying, “Let’s see what Santy Claus brought Daddy this year.”
Mama recently found a VHS from Christmas 1990 and put it on for Wyatt. That happened to be the year my brother and I got a toy guitar.
We showed no interest in it, but Daddy picked it up, turned his hat sideways and started putting on a show for the camera.
When they played the tape for me, I turned to Wyatt and said, “See, Papoo has never had any sense.”
Daddy was standing outside the hospital door the night my son came into this world and that little red-headed boy has been the apple of his eye ever since.
It didn’t take Wyatt long to learn what I already knew — his grandpa looks tough, but he’s really a big softie.
Why else would we go car shopping for a used Mustang, my dream car, the same day he took me to the courthouse to get my driver’s permit?
For what other reason would he spend 10 minutes cutting up my steak while his got cold when I was big enough to chew but too little to handle a knife?
I’m 26 years old and can probably count on one hand the number of times he has called me by name. To him, I’ll always be “punkin.”
And I’ll always be grateful to have been born a logger’s daughter.