Total Pageviews

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Robert Leo Oliver
Well, its Father's day again. Every year it comes, every year it goes. Usually it just slips by unnoticed by me, unless of course I go for brunch and can't get a seat, suddenly realizing that it is in fact Father's day and that's why there are so many people about celebrating. Today I decided not to let that happen. I would not let this day go by without thinking about my father.

It has been so long since the word "dad" had been part of my vocab that it feels weird even typing it.

My father died when I was young, eleven to be exact. My aunt arrived in her most serious form and as she leaned against our kitchen stove she told my brother and I, "Your dad is gone my Loves." Well, I didn't exactly know what she meant. Really I just wondered where he went and when he would be back. But somehow, I knew, what with all the tears and my aunt's serious face. I knew he was sick, but I had no idea how serious it was. I learned very quick meaning of words like "cancer" and "stroke" and so on.
Back then I was considered too young to go to a funeral. Its just as well. I can remember him alive and a comforting force. And so he went away...

Every day he would get up, wash with Ivory soap, & shave leaving tiny dark whiskers in the white sink. He would go off to work delivering other's fine furnishings for Osmonds Furniture. Sometimes he might bring home aspecial treat like my brand new pure white dresser. This was my pride and joy until my budding artist sister, whom I have since forgiven for this, saw only a fresh white canvas as she did her best work with her red crayon.

Every night he would come home, sit down for supper, bless himself, eat, have some tea and then sit in his big green lazy boy, sport his thick reading glasses and examine with great interest the Evening Telegram. Then we might watch Bonanza which I pretended to like cause it meant spending more time with my dad.

Every Sunday he would sport his best hounds tooth polyester pants and white dress shirt and I my white turtle neck and jumper and off we would go to mass. It was he who fostered in me the fear of God without once raising his voice to me. Always letting me sing loud at folk mass, always letting me place the envelope in the velvet lined collection plate. I was full of joy when we set out for the House of the Lord, but only cause I was with my dad.

With my dad I picked my first pair of fashionable road runners, a hefty $17.00 purchase. Now, I realize that was a lot of money! With him I chose my first pair of stop signed shaped eye glasses from the cheap section at Mitchell's and felt great about it.

Every Tue. night, we would drive to my grandmother's house and I would go to Brownies with my aunt, feeling safe knowing he was waiting just down the street. On the way home we'd stop at Sunrise Confectionery and I would be allowed to fill a small paper bag with penny candy as he chose his
Rothman's from behind the counter. Swedish berries, and Fun Dips, Orange Pineapple for him and Rainbow ice cream for me, Dixie cups eaten with a wooden spoon. A bag of hostess chips for John, and "something for the little one".

And who could forget the old Dodge Dart he and a neighbor attempted to hand paint and were so proud of. think they wanted beige and red. It was more like peach and red.

I went everywhere with my dad. Visits with his step mother "Mrs. Oliver" on her farm with free roaming wild and crazy turkeys with scary bulbous masses hanging from their chins, gathering caplin at St. Phillips, walks to the Janeway apartments playground, camping in the back of the furniture truck, fishing in the water supply area, rescuing my brother from quick sand, getting the Christmas tree from the woods, falling asleep in his arms.

And of course, trips to clean up the family plot. He trimmed the grass, picked up the mess, layed flowers while I played with the rocks. The best part though, of family plot day was sitting on the cement frame (which defined our dead family's space) and eating bologna sandwiches and drinking Pepsi in the sunshine with my dad. Ah...the family plot... He lives there himself now.

Yes today I will honor and remember my/our father who instilled in me a healthy dose of self esteem. His spirit with me always...He was a great dad, and he would have been a wonderful grandfather too.
Happy Father's day to all dads...and to me I remember.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Inch by Inch Row by Row...

Well, I planted my garden for this year. A beautiful array of delicious veggies. I love the feeling of being down on my knees digging in the earth. There is something about the smell of freshly dug earth, something about the anticipation, the possibilities, the nurturing. Now I certainly don't claim to be an expert gardener. This is really only the second year I've done this.(I don't count year one when everything died and planted the wrong beans). Last year my little garden yielded enough bright red tomatoes to share with friends and make some salsa and sauces. I had enough squash for well into the winter, enough fresh cucumber to have a few good salads.
Now, I haven't gotten to the point where I have the urge to pickle or bottle anything, so there was lots of food to share. I'm not sure what it will yield this year. I've tried a few new things like eggplant and leeks. Who knows how that will go? Really, I like the not knowing, watching,plants grow taller and more full. I'm not rushing summer by any means but since Fall will happen anyway, I can't wait to walk out to my garden, pick a few onions for my soup, grab a cucumber & a tomato and make a fresh sandwich. It's such a good feeling knowing I planted this food.
I planted lots of herbs too, tasty and ready to use. Trying a new one I found called pineapple sage. Feels a little funny to do that with sage, but it's tasty and attractive and would be great in a fruit salad or a green salad. I dislike buying "fresh" herbs at supermarket...them, all tucked in their plastic packaging, bound together with an elastic...they don't feel so fresh.
I'm just glad I was able to take the time, the whole day in fact which seems to stand still when I'm in my garden as evidenced by my sun burnt forearms.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Finishing Something Frees Up Energy"

It's Sunday already. I promised myself that I was gonna post something today. I've been thinking about it now for at least two days. I considered so many options but they all seemed boring and forced. I don't like that feeling. (Perhaps this is why I have not been posting regularly) Then I was flipping through a notebook that I use in my writer's group & I came across the above quote from my friend Yvette. All of a sudden it made sense to me. I also had just finished reading a post by a FB friend about her finishing a 5k and having reached her goals. Then I remembered my first 5k and what a good feeling finishing something actually is. It is freeing... so what's wrong with me...don't I want to be free? Weird...just as I write this, I'm sure coincidentally, there is a song playing with the lyrics "don't you want to live free?" it's all a bit witchy. (DOBACARACHOL is the name of the group I'm listening to, and I have not listened to this in so long) I am such a procrastinator.
I know this. I AM A PROCRASTINATION TOOL. At my writer's retreat I was having trouble getting motivated so I wrote a monologue about procrastinating. The words came easily. Within minutes I had a 10 min monologue ready to go. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud of it. It's funny, it's a sarcastic reflection that I am sure many writers can relate to, and really it's a bit of a record of my weekend with 7 of my favorite people, but I was avoiding writing all the good juicy stuff, the stuff I should be writing. The burning house (as Anne Simpson called it in a workshop I once took with her)... Well, I mostly avoid burning houses, but...guess I gotta go in if I want to rescue the story.
It's true, the whole "frees up energy" idea...I made pasta sauce first thing this morning, now it's gone from my head ...welcome energy to use for my writing. I baked a great choc cake...excellent, welcome...more energy. More energy to work on my novel. I finally get it so I'm gonna need to finish this post soon cause i need the energy to run from the burning house if I have to, or to stay there, finish the story and deal with the heat of it all.